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ST. John's squakb. 



























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My dear Woodgate, 

Half a century and more has passed since you 
first allowed me to know you familiarly, and to possess 
your friendship. 

Now, in the last decade of our lives, it is pleasant to 
me to look back upon those old Oxford days, in which 
we were together, and, in memory of them, to dedicate 
to you a Volume, written, for the most part, before the 
currents of opinion and the course of events carried 
friends away in various directions, and brought about 
great changes and bitter separations. 

Those issues of religious inquiry I cannot certainly 

affect to lament, as far as they concern myself: as they 

relate to others, at least it is left to me, by such acts 

as you now allow me, to testify to them that affection 

which time and absence cannot quench, and which is 

the more fresh and buoyant because it is so old. 

I am, my dear Woodgate, 

Your attached and constant friend, 

January 5, 1872. 


This Volume is a fresh contribution, on the part of 
the Author, towards a uniform Edition of his publica- 

Of the six portions, of which it consists, the first 
appeared in the British Magazine in the spring of 1836, 
under the title of " Home Thoughts Abroad." As that 
title was intended for a series of papers which were 
never written, and is unsuitable to a single instalment of 
them, another heading has been selected for it, answering 
more exactly to the particular subject of which it treats. 

The second and third are the 83rd and 85th numbers 
of the "Tracts for the Times," and were published in the 
5th volume, in the year 1838. 

The fourth, "The Tamworth Reading Room," was 
written for the Times newspaper, and appeared in its 
columns in February 1841, being afterwards published 
as a pamphlet. The letters, of which it consists, were 
written off as they were successively called for by the 
parties who paid the author the compliment of employing 
him, and are necessarily immethodical as compositions. 

vi Advertisement. 

The same may with still more reason be said of the 
Letters which follow, entitled, " Who's to blame ? " 
written in the spring of 1855, for an intimate friend, at 
that time the editor of the newspaper in which they 

The Review, which closes the Volume, was published 
in the Month Magazine of June 1866. 

January, 1872. 




1. HIS TIMES 44 


3. HIS CITY 77 










MENTS 170 






COMPARl='l> .. w . » t> .1 u o 4^6 

viii Contents, 























WHEN I was at Rome, I fell in with an English 
acquaintance, whom I had met occasionally in 
his own county, and when he was on a visit at my own 
University. I had always felt him a pleasant, as rather 
engaging companion, and his talent no one could ques- 
tion ; but his opinions on a variety of political and 
ecclesiastical subjects were either very unsettled or at 
least very uncommon. His remarks had often the effect 
of random talking ; and though he was always ingenious, 
and often (as far as I was his antagonist) unanswerable, 
yet he did not advance me, or others, one step towards 
the conviction that he was right and we were wrong in 
the matter which happened to be in dispute. Such a 
personage is no unusual phenomenon in this day, in 
which every one thinks it a duty to exercise the " sacred 
right of private judgment;" and when, consequently, 
there are, as the grammar has it, "quot homines, tot 

* [The discussion in this Paper is carried on by two speculative Angli« 
cans, who aim at giving vitality to their Church, the one by uniting it to 
the Roman See, the other by developing a nineteenth-century Anglo-Catho- 
licism. The narrator sides on the whole with the latter of these.] 


2 How to accomplish it. 

sententiae;" nor should I have distinguished my good 
friend from a score of theorists and debaters, producible 
at a minute's notice in any part of the United Kingdom, 
except for two reasons — first, that his theories lay in 
the different direction from those now in fashion, and 
were all based upon the principle of " bigotry," (as he, 
whether seriously or paradoxically, avowed) — next, that 
he maintained they were not novelties, but as old as the 
Gospel itself, and possessing as continuous a tradition. 
Yet, in spite of whatever recommendations he cast about 
them, tney did not take hold of me. They seemed un- 
real ; this will best explain what I mean : — unreal^ as if 
he had raised his structure in the air, an independent, 
self-sustained pile of buildings, sid simile, without histori- 
cal basis or recognized position among things existing, 
without discoverable relations to the wants, wishes, and 
opinions of those who were the subjects of his specu- 

We were thrown together at Rome, as we had never 
been before ; and, getting familiar with him, I began to 
have some insight into his meaning. I soon found him 
to be quite serious in his opmions ; but I did not think 
him a wit the less chimerical and meteoros than be- 
fore. However, as he was always entertaining, and could 
bear a set-down or a laugh easily, from the sweetness 
and amiableness of his nature, I always liked to hear him 
talk. Indeed, if the truth must be spoken, I believe, in 
some degree, he began to poison my mind with his ex- 

One day I had called at the Prussian Minister's, and 
found my friend there. We left together. The landing 
from which the staircase descended looked out over 
Rome; affording a most striking view of a city which 
the Christian can never survey without the bitterest, the 

How to accomplish it. 3 

most loving, and the most melancholy thoughts. I will 
not describe the details of the prospect ; they may be 
found in every book; nothing is so common now as pano- 
ramic or dioramic descriptions. Suffice it to say, that 
we were looking out from the Capitol all over the mo- 
dern city ; and that ancient Rome, being for the most 
part out of sight, was not suggested to us except as the 
basis of the history which followed its day. The morn- 
ing was very clear and still : all the many domes, which 
gave feature to the view before us, rose gracefully and 
proudly. We lingered at the window without saying 
a word. News of public affairs had lately come from 
England, which had saddened us both, as leading us to 
forebode the overthrow of all that gives dignity and in- 
terest to our country, not to touch upon the more serious 
reflections connected with it. 

My friend began by alluding to a former conversation, 
m which I had expressed my anticipation, that Rome, as 
a city, was still destined to bear the manifestation of 
divine judgments. He said, " Have you really the heart 
to say that all this is to be visited and overthrown ?" 
His eye glanced at St. Peter's. I was taken by surprise, 
and for a moment overcome, as well as he ; but the 
parallel of the Apostles' question in the Gospel soon 
came to my aid, and I said, by way of answer, " Master, 
see what manner of stones and what buildings are here !" 
He smiled ; and we relapsed into our meditative mood. 

At length I said, " Why, surely, as far as one's imagi- 
nation is concerned, nothing is so hard to conceive as 
that evil is coming on our own country : fairly as the 
surface of things still promises, yet you as well as I ex- 
pect evil. Not long before I came abroad, I was in a 
retired parish in Berkshire, on a Sunday, and the in- 
estimable blessings of our present condition, the guilt of 

4 How to accomplish it. 

those who are destroying them, and moreover, the diffi- 
culty of believing they could be lost, came forcibly upon 
me. When everything looked so calm, regular, and 
smiling, the church bell going for service, high and low, 
young and old flocking in, others resting in the porch, 
and others delaying in the churchyard, as if there were 
enjoyment in the very cessation of that bodily action 
which for six days had worried them, (but I need not go 
on describing what both of us have seen a hundred times,) 
1 said to myself, ' What a heaven on earth is this ! how 
removed, like an oasis, from the dust and dreariness of 
the political world ! And is it possible that it depends 
for its existence on what is without, so as to be dissi- 
pated and to vanish at once upon the occurrence of certain 
changes in public affairs ? ' I could not bring myself to 
believe that the foundations beneath were crumbling 
away, and that a sudden fall might be expected." 

He replied by one of his occasional flights — " If Rome 
itself, as you say, is not to last, why should the daughter 
who has severed herself from Rome ? The amputated 
limb dies sooner than the wounded and enfeebled trunk 
which loses it." 

" Say this anywhere in Rome than on this staircase," I 
answered. " Come, let us find a more appropriate place 
for such extravagances ; " and I took him by the arm, 
and we began to descend. We made for the villa on 
the Palatine, and in our way thither, and while strolling 
in its walks, the following discussion took place, which 
of course I have put together into a more compact shape 
than it assumed in our actual conversation. 


" What I mean," said he in continuation, " is this : that 
we, in England, are severed from the centre of unity, and 

How to accomplish it. 5 

therefore no wonder our Church does not flourish. You 
may say to me, M you please, that the Church of Rome 
is corrupt. I know it ; but what then ? If (to use the 
common saying) there are remedies even worse than the 
disease they practise on, much more are remedies con- 
ceivable which are only not as bad, or but a little better. 
To cut off a limb is anyhow a strange mode of saving 
it from the influence of some constitutional ailment. 
Indigestion may cause cramp in the extremities, yet we 
spare our hands or feet, notwithstanding, I do not wish 
to press analogies ; yet, surely, there is such a religious 
fact as the existence of a great Catholic body, union with 
which is a Christian privilege and duty. Now, we English 
are separate from it." 

I answered, " I will grant you thus much, — that the 
present is an unsatisfactory, miserable state of things ; 
that there is a defect, an evil in existing circumstances, 
which we should pray and labour to remove ; yet I can 
grant no more. The Churcn is founded on a doctrine — 
the gospel of Tritth ; it is a means to an end. Perish 
the Church Catholic itself, (though, blessed be the pro- 
mise, this cannot be,) yet let it perish rather than the 
Truth should fail. Purity of faith is more precious to 
the Christian than unity itself. If Rome has erred 
grievously in doctrine (and in so thinking we are both 
of one mind), then is it a duty to separate even from 

" You allow much more," he replied, " than most of 
us ; yet even you, as it seems to me, have not a deep sense 
enough of the seriousness of our position. Recollect, at 
the Reformation we did that which is a sin, unless we 
prove it to be a duty. It was, and is, a very solemn 
protest. Would the seraph Abdiel have made his re- 
sistance a triumph and a boast, — spoken of the glorious 

6 How to acco7nplish it. 

stand he had made, — or made it a pleasant era in his 
history? Would he have gone on to praise himself, 
and say, ' Certainly, I am one among a thousand ; all of 
them went wrong but I, and they are now in hell, but 
I am pure and uncorrupt, in consequence of my noble 
separation from those rebels ' ? Now, certainly, I have 
heard you glory in an event which at best was but an 
escape as by fire, — an escape at a great risk and loss, 
and at the price of a melancholy separation." 

I felt he had, as far as the practical question went, 
the advantage of me. Indeed it must be confessed that 
we Protestants are so satisfied with intellectual victories 
in our controversy with Rome as to think little of that 
charity which " vaunteth not herself, is not puffed up, 
doth not behave herself unseemly." 

He continued : — " Do you recollect the notion enter- 
tained by the primitive Christians concerning Catho- 
licity } The Church was, in their view, one vast body, 
founded by the Apostles, and spreading its branches out 
into all lands, — the channel through which the streams of 
grace flowed, the mystical vine through which that sap 
of life circulated, which was the possession of those and 
those only who were grafted on it. In this Church there 
can be no division. Pass the axe through it, and one 
part or the other is cut off from the Apostles. There 
cannot be two distinct bodies, each claiming descent 
from the original stem. Indeed, the very word catholic 
witnesses to this. Two Apostolic bodies there may be 
without actual contradiction of terms ; but there is neces- 
sarily but one body Catholic." And then, in illustration 
of this view, he went on to cite from memory the sub- 
stance of passages from Cyril and Augustine, which I 
suspect he had picked up from some Romanist friend at 
the English College. I have since turned them out in 

How to accomplish it. 7 

in their respective authors, and here give them in trans- 

The first extract occurs in a letter written by Augus- 
tine to a Donatist bishop : — 

" I will briefly suggest a question for your consideration. Seeing 
that at this day we have before our eyes the Church of God, called 
Catholic, diffused throughout the world, we think we ought not to 
doubt that herein is a most plain accomplishment of holy prophecy, 
confirmed as it was by our Lord in the Gospel, and by the Apostles, 
who, agreeably to the prediction, so extended it. Thus St. Paul 
preached the Gospel, and founded churches, etc. John also writes to 
seven Churches, etc. With all these churches we, at this day, com- 
municate, as is plain ; and it is equally plain that you Donatists do 
not communicate with them. Now, then, I ask you to assign some 
reason why Christ should ... all at once be pent up in Africa, 
where you are, or even in the whole of it. For your community, 
which bears the name of Donatus, evidently is not in all places 
— that is, catholic. If you say ours is not the Catholic, but nick- 
name it the Macarian, the rest of Christendom differs from you ; 
whereas you yourselves must own, what every one who knows you 
will also testify, that yours is known as the Donatist denomination. 
Please to tell me, then, how the Church of Christ has vanished from 
the world, and is found only among you ; whereas our side of the 
controversy is upheld, without our saying a word, by the plain fact, 
that we see in it a fulfilment of Scripture prophecy." * 

The next is from one of the same Father's treatises, 
addressed to a friend : — 

" We must hold fast the Christian religion, and the communion 
of that Church which is, and is called. Catholic, not only by its 
members, but even by all its enemies. For, whether they will or 
no, even heretics themselves, and the children of schism, when they 
speak, not with their own people, but with strangers, call that Church 
nothing else but Catholic ? Indeed they would not be understood, 
unless they characterized it by that name which it bears throughout 
the world." t 

• Ep. 49, Ed. Benedict. f De vera Rel., c. 7, n. 13. 

8 How to accomplish it. 

The last was from Cyril's explanation of the doctrine 
of the One Holy Catholic Church : — 

"Whereas the name {church) is used variously .... as (for 
instance) it may be applied to the heresy or persuasion of the 
Manichees, etc., therefore tlie creed has carefully committed to thee 
the confession of the One Holy Catholic Church, in order that thou 
mayest avoid their odious meetings, and remain always in the Holy 
Catholic Church, in which thou wast regenerated. And if per- 
chance thou art a traveller in a strange city, do not simply asl<, 
'Where is the house of God?' for the multitude of persuasions 
attempt to call their hiding-places by that name ; nor simply, 
•'Where is the Church?' but, 'Where is the Catholic Church?' 
for such is the peculiar name of this the holy Mother of us all, who 
is the spouse of the Only-Begotten Son."* 


After giving some account of these passages, he con- 
tinued : " Now, I am only contending for the fact that 
the communion of Rome constitutes the main body of 
the Church Catholic, and that we are split off from it, 
and in the condition of the Donatists ; so that every 
word of Augustine's argument to them, could be applied 
to us. This, I say, is a. fact ; and if it be a grave fact, 
to account for it by saying that they are corrupt is only 
bringing in a second grave fact. Two such serious facts 
— that we are separate from the great body of the 
Church, and that it is corrupt — should, one would think, 
make us serious ; whereas we behave as if they were 
plus and minus, and destroyed each other. Or rather, 
we triumph in the Romanists being corrupt, and we deny 
they are the great body of Christians, unfairly merging 
their myriad of churches under the poor title of ^ tJic 
Church of Rome ; ' as if unanimity destroyed the argu- 
ment from numbers." 

* Cyril Ilieros. Catech., xviii. 12, 

How to accoviplish it. 9 

" Stay! not so fast !" I made answer; "after all, they 
are but a part, though a large part, of the Christian 
world. Is the Greek communion to go for nothing, 
extending from St. Petersburg to Corinth and Antioch } 
or the Armenian churches .'' and the EngHsh communion 
which has branched off to India, AustraHa, the West 
Indies, the United States, Canada, and Nova Scotia .-* 
The true state of the case is this : the condition of the 
early Church, as Augustine and Cyril describe' it, exists 
no more ; it is to be found nowhere. You may apply, 
indeed, the terms which they used of it to the present time, 
and call the Romanists Catholics, as they claim to be ; 
but this is a fiction and a theory, not the expression of 
a visible fact. Is it not a mere theory by which the 
Latin Church can affect to spread itself into Russia ? I 
suspect, in spite of St. Cyril, you might ask in vain for 
their churches under the name of Catholic throughout 
the autocrat's dominions, or in Greece, as well as in 
England or Scotland. Where is the Catholic Bishop of 
Winchester or Lincoln } where the Catholic Church in 
England as a visible institution ? No more is it such in 
Scotland ; not to go on to speak of parts of Germany 
or the new world. All that can be said by way of reply 
is, that it is a very considerable communion, and vener- 
able from its consistency and antiquity." 

" That is the point," interrupted my companion ; 
"they maintain that, such as they are, such they ever 
have been. They have been from the first ' the Catho- 
lics.' The schismatical Greeks, the Nestorians, the 
Monophysites, and the Protestants have grown up at 
different times, and on a novel doctrine or foundation." 

" Have a care," I answered, " of diverging to the 
question of Apostolicity. We are engaged upon the 
Catholicity of the Latin Church. If we are to speak of 

lO How to acco7nplish it. 

Antiquity, you yourself will be obliged to abandon its 
cause, for you are as decided as myself upon its corrup- 
tions from primitive simplicity. Foundation we have as 
apostolical as theirs, (unless you listen to the Nag's-head 
calumny,) and doctrine much more apostolical. Please 
to keep to the plain tangible fact, as you expressed it 
when you began, of the universal or catholic character 
of the Roman communion." 

He was silent for a while, so I proceeded. 

"Let me say a word or two more on the subject I 
had in hand when you interposed. I was observing 
that the state of things is certainly altered since Augus- 
tine's time — that is, in matter of fact, divisions, cross 
divisions, and complicated disarrangements have taken 
place in these latter centuries which were unknown in 
the fifth. We cannot, at once, apply his words as the 
representatives of things now existing ; they are, in 
great measure, but the expression of principles to be 
adopted. May I say something further without shocking 
you.? I think dissent and separatism present features 
unknown to primitive Christianity — so unknown that in 
its view of the world a place is not provided for them. 
A state of things has grown up, of which hereditary 
dissent is an element. All the better feelings of sta- 
bility, quietness, loyalty, and the like, are in some places 
enlisted in its favour. In some places, as in Scotland, 
dissent is the religion of the state and country. I am 
not supposing that such outlying communities have 
blessings equal to the Church Catholic ; only, while I 
condemn them as outlying, I would still contend that 
they retain so much of privilege, so much of the life and 
warmth of that spiritual body, from the roots of which 
they spring, as irregular shoots, as to secure their indivi- 
dual members from tlie calamity of being altogether cut 

How to accomplish it. II 

off from it. In the latter ages of Judaism, the ten tribes, 
and afterwards the Samaritans, and then the proselytes 
of the gate, present a parallel, as having a position be- 
yond the literal scope of the Mosaic law. I shall scruple, 
therefore, to apply the strong language which Cyprian 
uses against schismatics to the Scottish presbyterians 
or to the Lutherans. At least, they have the Scriptures. 
You understand why I mention this — to show, by an 
additional illustration, that not every word that the 
Fathers utter concerning the Church Catholic applies at 
once to the Church of this day. The early Christians had 
not the complete canon, nor were books then common, 
nor could most of them read. Other differences between 
their Church and our Church might be mentioned ; — for 
instance, the tradition of the early Church was of an 
historical character, of the nature of testimony ; and 
possessed an authority superadded to the Church's pro- 
per authority as a divine institution. It was a witness, 
far more perfect in its way, but the same in kind, as the 
body of ancient writers may be for the genuineness of 
Caesar's works. It was virtually infallible. Now, how- 
ever, this accidental authority has long ceased, or, at 
least, is indefinitely weakened ; and to resist it is not 
so obviously a sin against light. Here, then, is another 
reason for caution in applying the language of the 
Fathers concerning schism to our own times, since they 
did not in their writings curiously separate the Church's 
intrinsic and permanent authority as divine, from her 
temporary office of bearing witness to the Apostolic 
doctrine as to an historical fact." 

"I must take time to think of this," he replied; "mean- 
while, you at least grant me that the Latin communior* 
is the main portion of Christendom — that particlpatioa 
with it is especially our natural position — and that our 

12 How lo acco?uplish it. 

present separation from it is a grievous calamity as such, 
and, under the circumstances, nothing short of a solemn 
protest against corruptions in it, of which we dare not 

" I grant it," said I. 

"And, in consequence, you discard, henceforth and foi 
ever, the following phrases, and the like — ' our glorious 
emancipation from Rome,' ' the noble stand we made 
against a corrupt church,' ' our enlightened times,' ' the 
blind and formal papists,' etc. etc." 

" We shall see," I answered — " we shall see." 


We walked some little way in silence ; at length, he 
said, " I wonder what use you intend to make of the 
view you just now so eagerly propounded, of the dif- 
ference of circumstances between the present and the 
ancient Church. It leads, I suppose, to the justification 
of some of those ill-starred theories of concession which 
are at present so numerous .'' " 

To tell the truth, I did not see my way clearly how 
far my own view ought to carry me. I saw that, with- 
out care, it would practically tend to the discarding the 
precedent of Antiquity altogether, and was not unwilling 
to have some light thrown by my friend upon the sub- 
ject ; so I affected, for the moment, a latitudinarianism 
which I did not feel.* " Certainly," I replied, " it would 
appear to be our duty to take things as we find them ; 
not to dream about the past, but to imitate, under 
changed circumstances, what we cannot fulfil literally. 
Christianity is intended to meet all forms of society ; it 
is not cast in the rigid mould of Judaism. Forms are 
transitory — principles are eternal : the Church of the 

* \_Vid. Note on " Essays Ciit. and Histor.," vol. i., p. 288 ; also p. 30S.] 

How to accomplish it. 13 

day is but an accidental development and type of the 
invisible and unchangeable. It will always have the 
properties of truth ; it will be ever (for instance) essen- 
tially conservative and aristocratic ; but its policy and 
measures will ever vary according to the age. Our 
Church in the seventeenth century was inclined to 
Romanism ; in the nineteenth, it was against Catholic 
emancipation. The orange ribbon, the emblem of a 
whig revolution, is now the badge of high tory confeder- 
ations. Thus, the spirit of the Church is uniform, ever 
one and the same ; but its relative position and ordi- 
nances change. At least, all this might be said ; and I 
should like to see how you would answer it." 

" That is," he interposed, " you grant that a Jew would 
have been wrong in philosophizing after the pattern you 
are setting, and talking of the nature of things, and 
transitory forms, and eternal truths, though you are pri- 
vileged to do so .''" 

" May we not suppose that the rules of the early 
Church were expedient then — nay, expedient now — as 
far as they could conveniently be observed, without con- 
sidering them absolutely binding ? " 

"Will you allow," he asked, in reply, "that St. Cyprian 
would have been in sin had he dispensed with episcopal 
Ordination, or St. Austin had he recognized the Donatists, 
or St. Chrysostom had he allowed the deacons to conse- 
crate the elements } " 

" They would have committed sin," I answered. 

" And in what would that sin have consisted t " 

" I suppose in doing that which they thought to be 
contrary to the continued usage of the Church." 

"That is," he said, "in doing what they thought con- 
trary to apostolic usage ? " 

I granted it 

14 How to accoviplish it. 

"And, of course," he said, "what they thought to be 
of apostoHc usage, in such matters, was really such ? " 

I allowed this also. 

" So it seems," he continued, " that they might not, 
and we may, do things contrary to apostolic usage." 

"That," I said, "is the very assertion I am making; 
outward circumstances being changed, we may alter our 
rule of conduct." 

He made answer: "I will give you my mind in a 
parable. Not many days since, I had scrambled into 
the rubbish yonder, which marks the site of the Apollo 
library, when I found what would be a treasure in the 
eyes of all the antiquarians in Europe, but which, to me, 
has a value of another kind — a MS. vindication of him- 
self by a Jewish courtier of Herod the Great, for not 
observing the rites and customs of Judaism, It is well 
argued throughout. He sets out with owning the divinity 
of the Mosaic law, its beauty and expediency ; the asso- 
ciations of reverence and interest cast around it ; the 
affection it stirs within the mind ; and the abstract de- 
sirableness of obeying it. ' But, after all, I confess,' he 
continues, * I do not think its precepts binding at this 
day, because we are at such a distance from the age of 
Moses, and all the nations around us, not to say ourselves 
are changed, though the Law is not' He proceeds to 
argue that he is not bound to go up to Jerusalem at 
the Passover, because there are synagogues about the 
country, which did not exist in the time of Moses ; and, 
though it is true that purifications may be performed at 
the Temple, which the synagogues do not allow of, yet, 
' after all,' he asks, ' how can we possibly know that the 
line of priests and Levites has been kept pure t Who 
can tell what irregularities may not have been introduced 
into their families during the captivity .'' Then, again. 

How to accomplish it. 15 

what a set of men these said priests are ! Tainted with 
Pharisaical pride, or rather polluted with pharisaical 
hypocrisy : especially the high priests : the very office 
has become altogether secular — very much changed, too, 
in form and detail from the original institution. What 
enormities have occurred ir the history of the Asmo- 
neans ! Who can suppose that they have any longer 
extraordinary gifts, prophecy, or the like, as of old time? 
Besides, there is a temple at Alexandria now, not to say 
another at Gerizim. Again, Herod, a man of Edom, is 
king, and has remodelled the state of things ; for cen- 
turies we have had secular alliances, and religion is now 
to be supported by ordinary, not extraordinary, means. 
From the time that these political changes took place, 
the rites have been superfluous. Events have proved 
this. A number of Jews once attempted to keep the 
Sabbath strictly, when an enemy came who surprised 
them in consequence, and killed them. They were pious 
but plainly narrow-minded and extravagant men. In 
short, since the Captivity, the former system has been 
superseded.' " 

" Enough, enough," I interrupted ; " perhaps I have 
spoken more strongly than I meant as to our liberty of 
acquiescing in innovations. However, I still must hold 
that we have no right to judge of others at this day, as 
we should have judged of them, had all of us lived a 
thousand years earlier. I do really think, for instance, 
that in the presbyterianism of Scotland we see a provi- 
dential phenomenon, the growth of a secondary system 
unknown to St. Austin — begun, indeed, not without sin, 
but continued, as regards the many, ignorantly, and 
compatibly with some portion of true faith ; I cannot 
at once apply to its upholders his language concerning 

l6 How to accomplish it. 

" Well, perhaps I may grant you this, under explana- 
tions," he replied, " if you, indeed, will grant that we, on 
our part, should deviate in practice from primitive rules 
as little as we can help — only so much as the sheer 
necessity of our circumstances obliges us. For instance, 
no plain necessity can ever oblige us to bury an unbap- 
tized person ; though a necessity (viz., of climate), may 
be urged for baptizing by sprinkling, not by immersion. 
This will serve as an illustration." 

I assented to him, and was glad to have gained a 
clearer view on this point than I had ever obtained 
before. I have since seen the principle expressed, in 
a Tract that has fallen in my way, as follows, the 
immediate point argued in it being the Apostolical 
Succession : — 

" Consider the analogy of an absent parent, or dear friend, in 
another hemisphere. Would not such an one naturally reckon it 
one sign of sincere attachment, if, when he returned home, he found 
that in all family questions respect had been sho^vn especially to 
those in whom he was known to have had most confidence } . . . 
If his children and dependents had searched diligently where, and 
with whom, he had left commissions, and, having fair cause to think 
they had found such, had scrupulously conformed themselves, as 
far as they could, to the proceedings of those so trusted by him, 
would he not think this a better sign than if they had been dexter- 
ous in devising exceptions, in explaining away the words of trust, 
and limiting the prerogatives he had conferred?"* 

The principle herein set forth is one which the law 
manifestly acts upon, as does every prudent statesman 
or man of business — viz., to go as near as he can to the 
rules, etc., which come into his hands, when he cannot 
observe them literally in all respects. But, to continue 
our conversation. 

•[By Mr. Keble.] 

How to accomplish it. 17 

My companion went on in his ardent way: "After 
all, there is no reason why the ancient unity of Christen- 
dom should not be revived among us, and Rome be 
again ecclesiastical head of the whole Church." 

" You will," said I, " be much better employed, surely, 
in speculating upon the means of building up our exist- 
ing English Church, the Church of Andrewes and Laud, 
Ken and Butler, than attempting what, even in your 
own judgment, is an inconsistency. Tell me, can you 
tolerate the practical idolatry, the virtual worship, of the 
Virgin and Saints, which is the offence of the Latin 
Church, and the degradation of moral truth and duty 
which follows from these ? " 

" These are corruptions of the Greek Church also," he 

" Which only shows," said I, " that we are in the posi- 
tion of Abdiel — one against a many, to take your own 
comparison. However, this is nothing to the purpose. 
It is plain, to speak soberly and practically, we never 
can unite with Rome ; for, even were we disposed to 
tolerate in its adherents what we could not allow in 
ourselves, they would not listen to our overtures for a 
moment, unless we began by agreeing to accept all the 
doctrinal decrees of Trent, and that about images in the 
number. No ; surely, the one and only policy remain- 
ing for us to pursue is, not to look towards Rome, but to 
build up upon Laud's principles." 

" Here you are theorizing, not I," returned he. 
" What is the ground of Andrewes and Laud, Stillingfleet 
and the rest, but a theory which has never been realized.'' 
I grant that the position they take in argument is most 
admirable, nearer much than the Romanist's to that of 


1 8 How to accomplish it. 

the primitive Church, and that they defend and develop 
their peculiar view most originally and satisfactorily ; 
still, after all, it is a theory, — a fine-drawn theory, which 
has never been owned by any body of churchmen, never 
witnessed in operation in any system. The question is 
not, how to draw it out, but how to do it. Laud's attempt 
was so unsuccessful as to prove he was working upon a 
mere theory. The actual English Church has never 
adopted it : in spite of the learning of her divines, she 
has ranked herself among the Protestants, and the doc- 
trine of the Via Media has slept in libraries. Nay, not 
only is Anglicanism a theory ; it represents, after all, but 
an imperfect system ; it implies a return to that inchoate 
state, in which the Church existed before the era of Con- 
stantine. It is a substitution of infancy for manhood. 
Of course it took some time, after its first starting, to 
get the Ark of Religion into her due course, which was 
at first somewhat vacillating and indeterminate. The 
language of theology was confessedly unformed, and we at 
this day actually adopt the creeds and the canons of the 
fourth century ; why not, then, the rites and customs also.''" 

" I suppose," said I, " no follower of Laud would 
object to the rites and customs then received." 

" Why, then," he asked, " do not we pay to the See of 
Rome the deference shown by the Fathers and Councils 
of that age ? " 

" Rome is corrupt," I answered. " When she reforms, 
it will be time enough to think about the share of honour 
and power belonging to her in the Universal Church. At 
present, her prerogative is, at least, suspended, and that 
most justly." 

" However, what I was showing," continued he, "was 
that the Anglican principle is scarcely fair, as fastening 
the Christian upon the very first age of the Gospel for 

How to accomplish it. 19 

evidence of all those necessary developments of the 
elements of Gospel truth, which could not be introduced 
throughout the Church except gradually. On the other 
hand, the Anglican system itself is not found complete 
in those early centuries ; so that the principle is self- 
destructive. Before there were Christian rulers, there was 
no doctrine of ' Church and King,' no union of ' Church 
and State,' which we rightly consider to be a development 
of the Gospel rule. The principle in question, then, is 
both in itself unfair and unfairly applied, as it is found 
in our divines. It is also the result of a very shallow 
philosophy : as if you could possibly prevent the com- 
pletion of given tendencies, as if Romanism would not 
be the inevitable result of a realized Anglicanism, were 
it ever realized.* However, my main objection to it is, 
that it is not, and never has been, realized. Protestantism 
is embodied in a system ; so Is Popery : but when a 
man takes up this Via Media, he is a mere doctrinarian 
— he is wasting his efforts in delineating an invisible 
phantom ; and he will be judged, and fairly, to be trifling, 
and bookish, and unfit for the world. He will be set 
down in the number of those who, in some matter of 
business, start up to suggest their own little crotchet, and 
are for ever measuring mountains with a pocket ruler, 
or improving the planetary courses. The world moves 
forward in bold and intelligible parties ; it has its roads 
to the east and north — nay, to points of the compass 

* ["As to the resemblance of the author's opinions to Romanism, — if 
Popery be a perversion or corruption of the Truth, as we believe, it must, by 
the very force of the terms, be like that Truth which it counterfeits ; and 
therefore the fact of a resemblance, as far as it exists, is no proof of any 
essential approximation in his opinions to Popery. Rather, it would be a 
serious argument against their primitive character, if to superficial observers 
they bore no likeness to it. Ultra-Protestantism could never have beea 
silently corrupted into Popery." — Advert, yd vol. Par. Serin., Ed, I.] 

20 How to accomplish it. 

between them, to the full number of the thirty-two ; 
but not to more than these. You must travel along 
a ready-made road ; you cannot go right ahead across- 
country, or, in spite of your abstract correctness, you 
will be swamped or benighted. When a person calling 
himself a 'Reformed Catholic,* or an 'Apostolical Chris- 
tian,' begins to speak, people say to him, ' What are 
you } If you are a Catholic, why do you not join the 
Romanists t If you are ours, why do you not maintain 
the great Protestant doctrines .-* ' Or, in the words of 
Hall of Norwich, addressed, it is said, to Laud : 

' I would I knew where to find you ; then I could tell how to 
take direct aims ; whereas now I must pore and conjecture. To- 
day you are in the tents of the Romanists — to-morrow in ours ; the 
next day between both — against both. Our adversaries think you 
ours — we, theirs ; your conscience finds you with both and neither. 
I flatter you not : this of yours is the worst of all tempers. Heat 
and cold have their uses — lukewarmness is good for nothing, but to 
trouble the stomach. . . . How long will you halt in this indiffer- 
ence .-* Resolve one way, and know, at last, what you do hold — 
what you should. Cast off either your wings or your teeth, and, 
loathing this bat-hke nature, be either a bird or a beast' 

" This was the character of his school down to the 
Non-jurors, in whom the failure of the experiment was 
finally ascertained. The theory sunk then, once and for 

" My dear fellow," I made answer, " I see you are of 
those who think success and the applause of men every- 
thing, not bearing to consider, ^frj^, whether a view be 
true, and then to incur boldly the ' reproach ' of uphold- 
ing it. Surely, the Truth has in no age been popular, 
and those who preached it have been thought idiots, and 
died without visible fruit of their labours." 

He smiled, and was silent, as if in thought. 

How to accomplish it. 21 

I continued : " Now listen to me, for I have it in pur- 
pose to turn your own word<^ against yourself, to show 
that you are the theorist, and I the man of practical 
sense ; and at the same time to cheer you with the hope, 
that the Anglican principle, though the true one, yet 
may perchance be destined, even yet, in the designs of 
Providence, to be expanded and realized in us, the 
unworthy sons of the great Archbishop. 

As I said these words, I caught a sight of one of 
the companions of my excursion making towards us, 
who was well known to the friend with whom I was con- 
versing. Instead, then, of beginning my harangue 
upon the prospects of the English Church, I said, 
" Here comes a friend in need, just in time. I was but 
going to repeat what I have picked up from him. He 
is the great theorist, after all, and he will best do justice 
to his own views himself." 

We went forward to meet him ; and, after some 
indifferent topics had passed between us, I told him 
the position in which he had found us, and asked him to 
take upon himself the exposition of his own speculations. 
I will pass over all explanations on his part, hesitations, 
disclaimers of the character I gave of him, and the like, 
and will take up the conversation when he was fairly 
implicated in the task which we had imposed upon him. 
For the future, I will call him Basil, and my first friend 
Ambrose, to avoid circumlocution. 

" Nothing seems so chimerical, I confess," said he, " as 
the notion that the Church temper of the seventeenth 
century will ever return in England ; nor do I ever ex- 
pect it will, on a large scale. But the great and small in 
extent are not conditions of moral or religious strength 

22 How to accomplish it. 

and dignity. The Holy Land was not larger than Wales. 
We can afford to give up the greater part of England to 
the spirit of the age, and yet develop, in a diocese, or a 
single city, those principles and tendencies of the Caro- 
line era which have never yet arrived at their just 

" You presuppose, of course, a King like the Martyr, 
in these anticipations ? " said Ambrose. 

"In speaking of a single diocese, or city," returned 
the other, " I have obviously implied a system of which 
political arrangements are not the mainspring. Alas ! we 
can no longer have such a king. The Monarchy is not 
constitutionally now what it was then ; nay, the Church, 
perchance, may not even be allowed the privilege of 
being loyal in time to come, though obedient and 
patient it always must be. The principle of national 
religion is fast getting out of fashion, and we are relasp- 
ing into the primitive state of Christianity, when men 
prayed for their rulers, and suffered from them, neither 
giving nor receiving temporal benefits. The element of 
high-churchmanship (as that word has commonly been 
understood) seems about to retreat again into the 
depths of the Christian temper, and Apostolicity is to 
be elicited instead, in greater measure. 

* 'Tis true, 'tis pity ; pity 'tis, 'tis true.* 

It would be well, indeed, were we allowed to acknowledge 
the magistrate's divine right to preside over the Church; 
but if the State declares it has itself no divine right over 
us, what help is there for it .-* We oust learn, like Hagar, 
to subsist by ourselves in the wilderness. Certainly, I 
never expect the system of Laud to return, but I do 
expect the due continuation and development of his 
principles. High-churchmanship — looking at the matte. 

How to accoinplish it. 22^ 

historically — will be regarded as a temporary stage of a 
course. The (so-called) union of Church and State, as 
it then existed, has been a wonderful and most gracious 
phenomenon in Christian history. It is a realization of 
the Gospel in its highest perfection, when both Caesar 
and St. Peter know and fulfil their office. I do not ex- 
pect anything so blessed again. Charles is the King, 
Laud the prelate, Oxford the sacred city, of this prin- 
ciple ; just as Rome is the city of Catholicism, and 
modern Paris of infidelity. I give up high-churchman- 
ship. But, to return " 

" First, however," interrupted Ambrose, " I have it in 
purpose to imprison you in a dilemma, which you must 
resolve before you can discuss your subject with any 
ease or convenience. Either you expect this substitu- 
tion of apostolicity for high-churchmanship at an early 
or at a distant date. If you say at an early, such keen 
anticipation of so deplorable a calamity as the un- 
christianizing of the State savours of disloyalty ; if at a 
distant, of fanaticism, as if the spirit of the seventeenth 
century could, on ever so contracted a field, revive 
centuries hence." 

" I intend," he answered, " neither to be disaffected 
nor fanatical, and yet shall retain my anticipations. As 
to the charge of disloyalty, I repel it at once by 
stating, that I am looking forward to events as yet re- 
moved from us by centuries. It is no disloyal or craven 
spirit to suppose that, in the course of generations, 
changes may occur, when change is the rule of the 
world, and when, in our own country especially, not one 
hundred and fifty years perhaps has ever passed without 
some great constitutional change, or violent revolution. 
It is no faintness of heart to suppose that the eras of 
1536, 1649, and 1688 are tokens of other s-ich in store. 

24 How to accoviplish it. 

We all know that dynasties and governments are, like 
individuals, mortal ; and to provide against the un- 
churching of the monarchy, is not more disrespectful 
to it than to introduce a regency bill beforehand, in the 
prospect of a minority. The Church alone is eternal ; 
and, being such, it must, by the very law of its nature, 
survive its friends, and is bound calmly to anticipate 
the vicissitudes of its condition. We are consulting for 
no affair of the day ; we are contemplating our fortunes 
five centuries to come. We are labouring for the year 
2500. By that time we may have buried our temporal 
guardians : their memory we shall always revere and 
bless ; but the Successors of the Apostles will still have 
their work — if the world last so long — a work (may be) 
of greater peril and hardship, but of more honour, than 

"Nor, on the other hand, is it idle to suppose that 
former principles, long dormant, may, like seed in the 
earth, spring up at some distant day. History is full of 
precedents in favour of such an anticipation. At this 
very time the nation is beginning to reap the full fruits 
of the perverse anti-ecclesiastical spirit to which the Re- 
formation on the Continent gave birth. Three centuries 
and more have not developed it. Again, three centuries 
and more were necessary for the infant Church to attain 
her mature and perfect form, and due stature. Atha- 
nasius, Basil, and Austin are the fully instructed doctors 
of her doctrine, discipline, and morals." 

I could not but look at Ambrose, and smile at hearing 
the argument he had used, before the other came up 
incidentally made available against himself. Basil 
continued : 

Hoiv to accomplish it. 2^ 

"Again, Hildebrand was the first to bring into use 
the donations made by Pepin and Charlemagne to the 
Church; yet these were made between A.D. 750 — 800, and 
Hildebrand's papacy did not commence till 1086. The 
interval was a time of weakness, humiliation, guilt, and 
disgrace to the Church, far exceeding any ecclesiastical 
scandals in our own country, whether in the century be- 
fore or after the Caroline era. Gibbon tells us that the 
Popes of the ninth and tenth centuries were ' insulted, 
imprisoned, and murdered by their tyrants;' that the 
illegitimate son, grandson, and great grandson of Maro- 
zia, a woman of profligate character, were seated in St. 
Peter's chair ; and the second of these was but nineteen 
when elevated to that spiritual dignity. He renounced 
the ecclesiastical dress, and abandoned himself to hunt- 
ing, gaming, drinking, and kindred excesses. This, too, 
was the season of anti-popes, one of whom actually op- 
posed Hildebrand himself, and eventually obliged him 
to retreat to Salerno, where he died. Yet now that 
celebrated man stands in history as if the very contem- 
porary and first inheritor of Charlemagne's gifts, and 
reigns in the Church without the vestige of a rival. So 
little has time to do with the creations of moral energy, 
that Guiberto ceases in our associations to have lived 
with him, or the first Carlovingians to have been before 
him. He obliterated an interval of three hundred years." 

" You were somewhat too conceding, methinks, when 
you began," said Ambrose, "if you are not exorbitant 
now. It is not much more to ask that a king like 
Charles should ascend the throne, than that a mind like 
Hildebrand's should be given to the Church." 

"And yet Father Paul, a sagacious man," Basil an- 
swered, "did look with much anxiety towards the English 
hierarchy of his day (1617), as likely to develop an 

26 How to accomplish it. 

apostolical spirit which even kings could not control 
So far, indeed, he was mistaken in his immediate antici- 
pation, because the English Church was far too loyal tc 
be dangerous to the State ; yet it may chance that, in 
the course of centuries there is no king to whom to be 
loyal. His words are these : — 

'Anglis nimium timeo ; episcoporum magna ilia potestas, licet 
sub rege, prorsus mihi suspecta est. Ubi vel regem desidem nacti 
fuerint, vel magni spiritus archiepiscopum habuerint, regia authori- 
tas pessundabitur, et episcopi ad absolutam dominationem aspira- 
bunt. Ego equum ephippiatum in Anglia videre videor, et ascen- 
surum propediem equitem antiquum divino.' * 

" Now, is it not singular that this Church should so 
close upon these words have developed Laud, a prelate 
(if any other) aspiring and undaunted } And again, that 
within fifty years of him the king actually was in the 
power of the primate, as the umpire between him and 
the nation, though Sancroft (as he himself afterwards 
understood) was not alive to his position, nor equal to 
the emergency } These are omens of what may be still 
to come, inasmuch as they show the political and moral 
temper, the presiding genius of the Anglican Church, 
which had produced, at distant intervals, before Laud, 
prelates as high-minded, though doubtless less enlight- 
ened and more ambitious. It is not one stroke of for- 
tune, one political revolution, which can chase the gaiiiis 
loci from his favourite haunt. Canterbury and Oxford 
are a match for many Williams of Nassau." 

I here interrupted him to corroborate his last remarks, 
without pledging myself to approve his mode of con- 
veying them. I said that " Leslie, one of the last of 

* [I think this is to he found in Sai-pi's Letters, a book lent to me by 
Dr. Routh.j 

How to acco7]iplish it. 27 

the line of apostolical divines, had expressed the same 
opinion concerning the Church at large, in his Case of 
the Regale and Pontificate. His words are as follows : 

*I say, if the Church would trust to Him more than to the arm 
of flesh, she need not fear the power of kings. No ; Christ would 
give her kings, not as heads and spiritual fathers over her, but as 
nursing fathers, to protect, love, and cherish her, to reverence and 
to save her, as the Spouse of Christ. Instead of such fathers as 
she has made kings to be over herself, and of whom she stands in 
awe, and dare not exert the power Christ has given her, without 
their good liking, she should then have " children whom she might 
make princes in all the earth." Kings would become her sons and 
her servants, instead of being her fathers. 

' My brethren, let me freely speak to you. These promises must 
be fulfilled, and in this world, for they pre spoke of it, and belong 
not to the state of heaven, but to the condition of the Church in all 
the earth. All the prophets that have been, since the world began, 
have spoken of these days ; therefore, they will surely come ; and 
" though ye have lien among the pots, yet she shall be as the wings 
of a dove, that is covered with silver, and her feathers like gold." ' 

" Having been led to quote from an author who wrote 
a century since, let me here add the witness of an acute 
observer of our own century, whose Letters and Remains 
have been published since the date of the conversation I 
am relating — Mr. Alexander Knox. The following was 
written just two centuries after Sarpi's letter : 

* No Church on earth has more intrinsic excellence, [than the 
English Church,] yet no Church, probably, has less practical influ- 
ence. Her excellence, then, I conceive, gives ground for confiding 
that Providence will never abandon her ; but her want of influence 
would seem no less clearly to indicate, that Divine Wisdom will not 
always suffer her to go on without measures for her improvement. 
. . . Shall then the present negligence and insensibility always 
prevail? This cannot be; the rich provision made by the grace 
ind providence of God, for habits of a noble kind, is evidence that 

28 How to accomplish it. 

those habits shall at length be formed, that men shall arise, fitted, 
both by inclination and ability, to discover for themselves, and to 
display to others, whatever yet remains undisclosed, whether in the 
words or works of God. But if it be asked, how shall fit instru- 
ments be prepared for this high purpose, it can only be answered, thac 
in the most signal instances times of severe trial have been chosen 
for divine communications. — Moses, an exile, when God spoke to 
him from the bush ; Daniel, a captive in Babylon, where he was 
cheered with those clearest rays of Old Testament prophecy ; St. 
John, a prisoner in Patmos, where he was caught up into heaven, 

and beheld the apocalyptic vision My persuasion of the 

radical excellence of the Church of England does not suffer me to 
doubt, that she is to be an illustrious agent in bringing the mystical 
kingdom of Christ to its ultimate perfection.' " 


When the conversation had arrived at this point, 
my friend Ambrose put in a remark. " It must be 
confessed," he said, "that your triumphant Church will, 
after all, be very much like what the papal was in its 
pride of place. The only difference would seem to be, 
that the Popes deposed kings ; but you, in effect, wait 
till there are no kings to depose, leaving it to the (so- 
called) 'radical reformers' to bring upon themselves the 
odium of the acts which are to introduce you. Why 
not, then, avail ourselves of what is ready to our hands 
in the Church of Rome? Why attempt, instead, t® 
form a second-best and spurious Romanism } " 

" Pardon me," I said, in answer, " Basil thinks the 
Roman Church corrupt in doctrine. We cannot join a 
Church, did we wish it ever so much, which does not 
acknowledge our Orders, refuses us the Cup, demands 
our acquiescence in image worship, and excommuni- 
cates us, if we do not receive it and all other decisions of 
the Tridentine Council. While she insists on this, there 
must be an impassable line between her and us ; and 

How to acco7nplish it. 2g 

while she claims infallibility, she must insist on what she 
has once decreed ; and when she abandons that claim 
she breaks the principle of her own vitality. Thus, we 
can never unite with Rome." 

"This is true and certain," said Basil; "but even 
though Rome were as sound in faith as she is notori- 
ously unsound, our present line would remain the same. 
What, indeed, might come to pass at a distant era, when 
monarchies had ceased to be, it would be impertinent to 
ask ; but, though I have been anticipating the future, we 
have nothing really to do with the future. Our business 
is with things as they are. We want to begin at once, 
and must not, dare not start upon a basis which is not 
to be realized for some hundred years to come. Of 
course ; — and to do anything effectually, we must build 
upon principles and feelings already recognized among 
us. I grant all this : let us leave the future to itself : 
we are concerned, not with illusions, (as the French 
politicians say,) but with things that are. But this holds 
of other illusions besides those against which you have 
warned such as me. For what we know, by the time we 
are without kings Rome may be without a Pope ; and 
it would be a strange policy to go over to them now, by 
way of anticipating a distant era, which, for what we 
know, may, in the event, be preceded by their coming 
over to us. You have heard of the two brothers in the 
seventeenth century, papist and puritan, who disputed 
together and convinced each other. Let us take warn- 
ing from them. 

"I repeat, to do anything effectually, certainly we 
must start upon recognized principles and customs. Any 
other procedure stamps a person as wrong-headed, ill- 
judging, or eccentric, and brings upon him the contempt 
and ridicule of those sensible men by whose opinions 

so How to accomplish it. 

society is necessarily governed. Puttin;T aside the ques- 
tion of truth and falsehood — which of course is the main 
consideration — even as aiming at success, we must be 
aware of the great error of making changes on no more 
definite basis than their abstract fitness, their alleged 
scripturalness, their adoption by the ancients. Such 
changes are rightly called innovations ; those which 
spring from existing institutions, opinions, or feelings, 
are called developments, and may be recommended with- 
out invidiousness as being improvcmciits. I adopt, then, 
and claim as my own, that position of yours, ' that we 
must take and use what is ready to our hands.' To do 
otherwise, is to act the doctrinaire, and to provide for 
simple failure : for instance, if we would enforce observ- 
ance of the Lord's Day, we must not, at the outset, rest 
it on any theory (however just) of Church authority, 
but on the authority of Scripture. If we would oppose 
the State's interference with the distribution of Church 
property, we shall succeed, not by urging any doctrine 
of Church independence, or by citing decrees of General 
Councils, but by showing the contrariety of that measure 
to existing constitutional and ecclesiastical precedents 
among ourselves. Hildebrand found the Church pro- 
vided with certain existing means of power ; he vindi- 
cated them, and was rewarded with the success which 
attends, not on truth as such, but on this prudence and 
tact in conduct. St, Paul observed the same rule, — 
whether preaching at Athens or persuading his country- 
men. It was the gracious condescension of our Lord 
Himself, not to substitute Christianity for Judaism by any 
violent revolution, but to develop Judaism into Christi- 
anity, as the Jews might bear it. Now, Popery is not here 
ready to our hands ; on the contrary, we find among us, 
at this day, an intense fear and hatred of Popery ; and 

How to accomplish it. 3 1 

that, ill-instructed as it confessedly is, still based upon 
truth. It is mere headstrong folly, then, to advocate 
the Church of Rome. It is to lose our position as a 
Church, which never answers to any, whether body or 
individual. If, indeed, salvation were not in our Church, 
the case would be altered ; as it is, were Rome as pure 
in faith as the Church of the Apostles, which she is not, 
I would not join her, unless those about me did so too, 
lest I should commit schism. Our business is to take 
what we have received, and build upon it : to accept, as 
a legacy from our forefathers, this 'Protestant' spirit 
which they have bequeathed us, and merely to disengage 
it from its errors, purify it, and make it something more 
than a negative principle ; thus only have we a chance 
of success. All your arguments, then, my dear Ambrose, 
in favour of Romanism, or rather your regrets on the sub- 
ject — for you are not able to go so far as to design, or 
even to hope on the subject — seem to me irrelevant, and 
recoil upon your own professed principle ; and, instead 
of persuading others, only lead them to ask the pertinent 
question, 'Why do you stay among us, if you Hke a 
foreign religion better .'' ' " 

The other smiled with an expression which showed 
that he was at once entertained and as unconvinced 
as before. For myself, I was not quite pleased with 
the tone of political expedience which my friend had 
assumed, though I agreed in his general sentiment ; 
except, indeed, in his patience towards the word 
"Protestant," which is a term as political as were 
his arguments. 

"You have surely been somewhat carried beyond your 
own excellent judgment," I said, "by your earnestness 
in advocating a view. A person who did not know you 
as well as I do would take such avowals as the offsprino- 

32 How to accoiuplish it. 

of a Florentine, not an English school. It is certainly 
safer in so serious a matter to go upon more obvious, 
more religious grounds than those you have selected ; for 
I agree with you most entirely in the conclusion you 
arrive at. I will give you a reason, which has had par- 
ticular weight with me. Of course, one must not say, 
* Whatever is, is right,' in such a sense as to excuse what 
is wrong, whether committed or permitted, violence or 
cowardice ; yet, at the same time, it certainly is true, 
that the external circumstances under which we find our- 
selves, have a legitimate influence, nay, a sort of claim 
of deference, upon our conduct. St. Paul says that 
every one should remain in the place where he finds 
himself. This, so far, at least, applies to our ecclesias- 
tical position, that, unless where conscience comes in, 
it is our duty to submit to what we are born under. I 
do not insist here on the engagements of the clergy to 
administer the discipline of Christ as the Church and 
Realm have received the same ; here, I only assert that 
we find the Church and State united, and must therefore 
maintain that Union." 

" The said Union," interrupted Ambrose, " being much 
like the union of the Israelites with the Egyptians, in 
the house of bondage." 

" So it may be," I replied, — " but recollect that the 
chosen people were not allowed to disenthral themselves 
without an intimation of God's permission. When Moses 
attempted, of himself, to avenge them, he only got into 
trial and distress. It was in vain he killed the Egyptian, 
there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that 
regarded. Providence always says, ' Stand still, and see 
the salvation of God.' We must not dare to move, 
except He bids us. How different was the success of 
Moses afterwards, when God sent him ! In like manner. 

How to accomplish it. 33 

the deliverers of Israel, in the period of the Judges, were, 
for the most part, expressly commissioned to their office. 
At another time, 'the Lord delivered Sisera into the 
hand of a woman.' It is not for us ' to know the times 
and the seasons which the Father hath put in His own 

" And so, once more, Daniel, though he prayed towards 
the Temple during his captivity, made no attempt to 
leave Baiaylon for his own country, to escape from the 
mass of idolaters and infidels, scorners and profligates, 
among whom his lot was cast in this world. We, too, 
who are in captivity, must bide our time." 


Here there was a pause in the conversation, as if our 
minds required rest after sharing in it, or leisure to 
digest it. We were in the terrace walk overlooking the 
Trastevere : we stood still, and made such disconnected 
remarks as the separate buildings and places in the view 
suggested. At length, the Montorio, where St. Peter 
was martyred, and some discourse it suggested, recalled us 
to our former subject, and we began again with fresh life. 

"Hildebrand," said Ambrose, "had a basis to go 
upon ; and we, in matter of fact, have none. However 
true your policy may be of our availing ourselves of 
things existing, I repeat we have no church basis, — we 
have nothing but certain merely political rights. Hilde- 
brand had definite powers, though dormant or obsolete. 
The Exarchate of Ravenna had been formally ceded 
to the popedom by Pepin, though virtually wrested from 
it in the interval. The supposed donation of Constan- 
tine and the Decretals were recognized charters, which 
churchmen might fall back upon. We have nothing of 
this kind now." 

* * 3 

34 Hcd) to accomplish ii. 

" Let us make the most of what we have," returned 
the other ; " and surely we have enough for our purpose* 
Let us consider what that purpose is, and what it is we 
want : our one tangible object is to restore the connexion, 
at present broken, between bishops and people ; — for in 
this everything is involved, directly or indirectly, which 
it is a duty to contend for ; — and to effect this, we want 
no temporal rights of any sort, as the Popes needed, but 
merely the recognition of our Church's existing spiritual 
powers. We are not aiming at any kingdom of this 
world ; we need no Magna-Chartas or Coronation oaths 
for the object which we have at heart : we wish to main- 
tain the faith, and bind men together in love. We are 
aiming, with this view, at that commanding moral in- 
fluence which attended the early Church, which made 
it attractive and persuasive, which manifested itself in a 
fascination sufficient to elicit out of paganism and draw 
into itself all that was noblest and best from the mass of 
mankind, and which created an internal system of such 
grace, beauty, and majesty, that believers were moulded 
thereby into martyrs and evangelists. Now let us see 
what materials we have for a similar spiritual structure, 
if we keep what, through God's good providence, has 
descended to us. 

"First, we have the Ordination Service, acknowledg- 
ing three, and three only, divinely appointed Orders of 
ministers, implying a Succession, and the bishop's divine 
commission for continuing it, and assigning to the pres- 
bytery the power of retaining and remitting sins ; these 
are invaluable, as being essential, possessions. 

"Next, we have the plain statements of the general 
necessity of the sacraments for salvation, and the strong 
language of the services appointed for the administra- 
tion of them. We have Confirmation and Matrimony 

How to accovipush iL 55 

recognized as spiritual ordinances. We have forms ol 
absolution and blessing. 

" Further, we have the injunction of daily service, and 
the solemnization of fast and festival days. 

" Lastly, we have a yearly confession of the desirable 
ness of a restoration of the primitive discipline. 

" On these foundations, properly understood, we may 
do anything." 

" Still you have not touched upon the real difficulty," 
interrupted Ambrose. " Hildebrand governed an exist- 
ing body, and was only employed in vindicating for it 
certain powers and privileges ; you, on the other hand, 
have to make the body, before you proceed to strengthen 
it. The Church in England is not a body now, it has 
little or no substantiveness ; it has dwindled down to its 
ministers, who are as much secular functionaries as they 
are rulers of a Christian people. What reason have you 
to suppose that the principles you have enumerated will 
interest an uninstructed, as well as edify an already dis- 
cipHned, multitude .-' Still the problem is, How to do it ? " 


When he stopped, Basil looked at me. " Cyril," said 
he, mentioning my name, " has much to say on this 
argument, and I leave it to him to tell you how to do 
it." Thus challenged, I began in my turn. 

" I will tell you," I said, " Hildebrand really had to 
create as well as we. If the Church was not in his time 
laid prostrate before the world, at least it was incorpo- 
rated into it — so I am told, at least, by those who have 
studied the history of his times: the clergy were dissolved 
in secular vocations and professions ; a bishop was a 
powerful baron, the feudal vassal of a temporal prince, 
of whom he held estates and castles, his Ordination being 

36 How to accomplish it. 

virtually an incidental form, necessary at the commence- 
ment of his occupancy; the inferior clergy were inextri- 
cably entangled in the fetters of secular alliances, often 
criminal and scandalous. In planting his lever, which 
was to break all these irreligious ties, he made the received 
forms and rules of the Church his fulcrum. If master- 
minds are ever granted to us, to build us up in faith and 
unity, they must do the same ; they must take their 
stand upon that existing basis which Basil has just now 
described, and must be determined never to extravagate 
from it. They must make that basis their creed and 
their motive ; they must persevere for many years, in 
preaching and teaching, before they proceed to act upon 
their principles, introducing terms and names, and im- 
pressing members of the Church with the real meaning 
of the truths which are her animating element, and 
which her members verbally admit. In spite of opposi- 
tion, they must persevere in insisting on the episcopal 
system, the apostolical succession, the ministerial com- 
mission, the power of the keys, the duty and desirable- 
ness of Church discipline, the sacredness of Church rites 
and ordinances. 

" So far well ; but you will say, how is all this to be 
made interesting to the people 1 I answer, that the 
topics themselves which they are to preach are of that 
striking and attractive nature which carries with it its own 
influence. The very notion, that representatives of the 
Apostles are now on earth, from whose communion we 
may obtain grace, as the first Christians did from the 
Apostles, is surely, when admitted, of a most transport- 
ing and persuasive character ; it will supply the desider- 
atum which exists in the actual teaching of this day. 
Clergymen at present are subject to the painful experi- 
ence of losing the more religious portion of their flock. 

How to acco7nplish it. 37 

whom they have tutored and moulded as children, but 
who, as they come into life, fall away to the dissenters. 
Why is this ? Because they desire to be stricter than the 
mass of Churchmen, and the Church gives them no means ; 
they desire to be governed by sanctions more constrain- 
ing than those of mere argument, and the Church keeps 
back those doctrines, which, to the eye of faith, give a 
reality and substance to religion. He who is told that 
the Church is the treasure-house of spiritual gifts, comes 
for a definite privilege ; he who has been taught that it 
is merely a duty to keep united to the Church, gains 
nothing, and is tempted to leave it for the meeting- 
house, which promises him present excitement, if it does 
nothing more. He who sees Churchmen identified with 
the world, naturally looks at dissent as a separation from 
it. The first business, then, of our Hildebrand will be 
to stop this continual secession to the dissenters, by 
supplying those doctrines which nature itself, I may 
say, desiderates in our existing institutions, and which 
the dissenters attempt to supply. This should be well 
observed, for it is a remarkable circumstance, that most 
of the more striking innovations of the present day are 
awkward and unconscious imitations of the provisions of 
the old Catholic system. 'Texts for every day in the 
year' are the substitute for the orderly calendar of 
Scripture Lessons ; prayer-meetings stand for the daily 
service ; farewell speeches to missionaries take the place 
of public Ordinations ; public meetings for religious 
oratory, the place of the ceremonies and processions 
of the middle ages ; charitable societies are instead of 
the strict and enthusiastic Religious Institutions. Men 
know not of the legitimate Priesthood, and therefore are 
condemned to hang upon the judgment of individual 
and self-authorized preachers ; they defraud their chil- 

38 How to acco7nplish it. 

dren of the initiatory sacrament, and therefore are forced 
to invent a rite of dedication instead of it ; they put up 
with legends of private Christians, distinguished for an 
ambiguous or imperfect piety, narrow-minded in faith, 
and tawdry and discoloured in their hoHness, in the 
place of the men of God, the meek martyrs, the saintly 
pastors, the wise and winning teachers of the Catholic 
Church. One of the most striking illustrations of this 
general remark, is the existing practice and feeling 
about psalmody : — formerly great part of the public ser- 
vice Avas sung ; part of this, as the Te Deum, being an 
exhibition of the peculiar gospel doctrines. We let this 
practice go out ; then, feeling the want of singing, we 
introduce it between the separate portions of the ser- 
vices. There is no objection to this, so far ; it has 
primitive sanction. But observe, — we have only time for 
one or two verses, which cannot show the drift and spirit 
of the Psalm, and are often altogether unintelligible, or 
grammatically defective. Next, a complaint arises, that 
no Christian hymns constitute part of the singing ; so, 
having relinquished the Te Deum, we have recourse to 
the rhymes of Watts, Newton, and W^esley. Moreover, 
we sing as slow as if singing were a penitential exercise. 
Consider how the Easter hymn affects a congregation, 
and you will see their natural congeniality to musical 
services of a more animated, quicker, and more continued 
measure. The dissenters seem to feel this in their adop- 
tion of objectionable secular tunes, or of religious tunes 
of a caniabile character ; our slow airs seem to answer 
no purpose, except that of painfully exhausting the 
breath — they will never .allure a congregation to sing. 
So, again, as to the Services generally; they are scarcely 
at all adapted to the successive seasons and days of the 
Christian year : the Bible is rich in materials for illus 

How to accomplish it. 39 

trating and solemnizing these as they come ; but we 
make Httle use of it. Consider how impressive the 
Easter anthem is, as a substitute for the Venite : why 
should not such as this be appointed at other Seasons, 
in the same and other parts of the service ? How few 
prayers we possess for particular occasions ! Reflect, for 
instance, upon Jeremy Taylor's prayers and litanies, and 
I think you will grant that, carefully preserving the 
Prayer Book's majestic simplicity of style, we might 
nevertheless profitably make additions to our liturgical 
services. We have but matins and evensong appointed : 
what if a clergyman wishes to have prayers in his church 
seven times a day .-' 

" I touched just now on the subject of the Religious 
Institutions of the middle ages. These are imperatively 
called for to stop the progress of dissent ; indeed, I con- 
ceive you necessarily must have dissent or monachism 
in a Christian country ; — so make your choice. The 
r^ore religious minds demand some stricter religion than 
that of the generality of men ; if you do not gratify this 
desire religiously and soberly, they will gratify it them- 
selves at the expense of unity. I wish this were better 
understood than it is. You may build new churches, 
without stint, in every part of the land, but you will not 
approximate towards the extinction of Methodism and 
dissent till you consult for this feeling; till then, the 
sectaries will deprive you of numbers, and those the 
best of your flock, whom you can least afford to lose, 
and who might be the greatest strength and ornament 
to it. This is an occurrence which happens daily. Say 
that one out of a number of sisters in a family takes a 
religious turn ; is not her natural impulse to join either 
the Wesleyans or the irregulars within our pale } And 
why? all because theJ^Jnirfrll flgSS.ngt PrgYJdg Jnn.Ofif.flt,,.. 


40 How to accomplish it. 

outlets for the sober relief of feeling and excitement : 
she would fain devote herself immediately to God's ser- 
vice — to prayer, almsgiving, attendance on the sick. 
You not only decline her services yourself, — you drive 
her to the dissenters : and why ? all because the Reli- 
gious Life, though sanctioned by Apostles and illustrated 
by the early Saints, has before now given scope to 
moroseness, tyranny, and presumption." 


" I will tell you," interrupted Basil, " an advantage 
which has often struck me as likely to result from the 
institution (under sober regulations) of religious Sister- 
hoods — viz., the education of the female portion of the 
community in Church principles. It is plain we need 
schools for females : so great is the inconvenience, that 
persons in the higher ranks contrive to educate their 
daughters at home, from want of confidence in those 
schools in which alone they can place them. It is 
speaking temperately of these to say, that (with honour- 
able exceptions, of course, such as will be found to every 
rule) they teach little beyond mere accomplishments, 
present no antidotes to the frivolity of young minds, and 
instruct in no definite views of religious truth at all. On 
the other hand, what an incalculable gain would it be to 
the Church were the daughters, and future mothers, of 
England educated in a zealous and affectionate adher- 
ence to its cause, taught to reverence its authority, and 
to delight in its ordinances and services ! What, again, if 
they had instructors, who were invested with even more 
than the respectability which collegiate foundations give 
to education in the case of the other sex, instructors 
placed above the hopes and fears of the world, and 
impressing the thought of the Church on their pupils* 

How to accomplish it. 41 

minds, in association with their own refinement and 
heavenly serenity ! But, alas ! so ingrained are our un- 
fortunate prejudices on this head, that I fear nothing but 
serious national afflictions will give an opening to the 
accomplishment of so blessed a design." 

" For myself," said I, " I confess my hopes do not ex- 
tend beyond the vision of the rise of this Religious Life 
among us ; not that even this will have any success, as 
you well observe, till loss of property turns the thoughts 
of the clergy and others from this world to the next. 
As to the rise of a high episcopal system, that is, again 
to use your notion, a dream of A.D. 2500. We can but 
desire in our day to keep alive the lamp of truth in the 
sepulchre of this world till a brighter era : and surely 
the ancient system I speak of is the providentially de- 
signed instrument of this work. When Arianism tri- 
umphed in the sees of the eastern Church, the Associated 
Brethren of Egypt and Syria were the witnesses pro- 
phesying in sackcloth against it. So it may be again. 
When the day of trial comes, we shall be driven from 
the established system of the Church, from livings and 
professorships, fellowships and stalls ; we shall (so be it) 
muster amid dishonour, poverty, and destitution, for 
higher purposes ; we shall bear to be severed from 
possessions and connexions of this world ; we shall turn 
our thoughts to the education of those middle classes, 
the children of farmers and tradesmen, whom the Church 
has hitherto neglected ; we shall educate a certain num- 
ber, for the purpose of transmitting to posterity our 
principles and our manner of life ; we shall turn our- 
selves to the wants of the great towns, and attempt to 
be evangelists in a population almost heathen. 

"Till then, I scarcely expect that anything will be 
devised of a nature to meet the peculiar evils existing in 

42 How to acco7nplish it. 

a densely peopled city. Benevolent persons hope, by 
increasing our instruments of usefulness, to relieve them. 
Doubtless they may so relieve them ; and no charitable 
effort can fail of a blessing. New churches and lay co- 
operation will do something ; but, I confess, I think that 
some instrument different in kind is required for the 
present emergency : great towns will never be evangelized 
merely by the parochial system. They are beyond the 
sphere of the parish priest, burdened as he is with the 
endearments and anxieties of a family, and the secular 
restraints and engagements of the Establishment. The 
unstable multitude cannot be influenced and ruled except 
by uncommon means, by the evident sight of disinte- 
rested and self-denying love, and elevated firmness. The 
show of domestic comfort, the decencies of furniture and 
apparel, the bright hearth and the comfortable table, 
(good and innocent as they are in their place,) are as 
ill-suited to the missionary of a town population as to 
an Apostle. Heathens, and quasi-heathens, (such as 
the miserable rabble of a large town,) were not converted 
in the beginning of the Gospel, nor now, as it would 
appear, by the sight of domestic virtues or domestic 
comforts in their missionary. Surely Providence has 
His various means adapted to different ends. I think 
that Religious Institutions, over and above their intrinsic 
recommendations, are the legitimate instruments of 
working upon a populace, just as argument may be 
accounted the medium of conversion in the case of the 
educated, or parental authority in the case of the young. 


" I have been watching with some interest," said 
Ambrose, who had been silent all this while, " how near, 
with all your protestations against Popery, you would 

How to accomplish it. 43 

advance towards it in the course of your speculations, 
I am now happy to see you will go the full length of 
what you yourselves seem to admit is considered one of 
its most remarkable characteristics — monachism." 

"I know," answered I, "that is at present the popular 
notion ; but our generation has not yet learned the dis- 
tinction between Popery and Catholicism. But, be of 
good heart ; it will learn many things in time." 

The other laughed ; and, the day being now someway 
advanced into the afternoon, we left the garden, and 

March, 1836. 





The Times of Antichrist. 

THE Thessalonian Christians had supposed that the 
coming of Christ was near at hand. St. Paul 
writes to warn them against such an expectation. Not 
tliat he discountenances their looking out for our Lord's 
coming, — the contrary ; but he tells them that a certain 
event must come before it, and till that had arrived the 
end would not be. " Let no man deceive you by any 
means," he says ; " for that Day shall not come, except 
there come a falling away first," — and he proceeds 
" and " except first " that man of sin be revealed, the 
son of perdition." 

As long as the world lasts, this passage of Scripture 
will be full of reverent interest to Christians. It is their 
duty ever to be watching for the advent of their Lord, 
to search for the signs of it in all that happens around 
them ; and above all to keep in mind this great and 
awful sign of which St. Paul speaks to the Thessalonians. 
As our Lord's first coming had its forerunner, so will the 

The Times of Antichrist. 45 

second have its own. The first was "One more than 
a prophet," the Holy Baptist : the second will be more 
than an enemy of Christ ; it will be the very image of 
Satan, the fearful and hateful Antichrist. Of him, as 
described in prophecy, I propose to speak ; and, in doing 
so, I shall follow the exclusive guidance of the ancient 
Fathers of the Church. 

I follow the ancient Fathers, not as thinking that on 
such a subject they have the weight they possess in the 
instance of doctrines or ordinances. When they speak 
of doctrines, they speak of them as being universally 
held. They are witnesses to the fact of those doctrines 
having been received, not here or there, but everywhere. 
We receive those doctrines which they thus teach, not 
merely because they teach them, but because they bear 
witness that all Christians everywhere then held them. 
We take them as honest informants, but not as a sufficient 
authority in themselves, though they are an authority 
too. If they were to state these very same doctrines, 
but say, " These are our opinions : we deduced them 
from Scripture, and they are true," we might well doubt 
about receiving them at their hands. We might fairly 
say, that we had as much right to deduce from Scripture 
as they had ; that deductions of Scripture were mere 
opinions ; that if our deductions agreed with theirs, that 
would be a happy coincidence, and increase our con- 
fidence in them ; but if they did not, it could not be 
helped — we must follow our own light. Doubtless, no 
man has any right to impose his own deductions upon 
another, in matters of faith. There is an obvious obliga- 
tion, indeed, upon the ignorant to submit to those who 
are better informed ; and there is a fitness in the young 
submitting implicitly for a time to the teaching of their 
elders ; but, beyond this, one man's opinion is not bettei 

46 The Patristical Idea of Antichrist, 

than another's. But this is not the state of the case as 
regards the primitive Fathers. They do not speak of 
their own private opinion ; they do not say, " This is 
true, because we see it in Scripture " — about which there 
might be differences of judgment — but, " this is true, 
because in matter of fact it is held, and has ever been 
held, by all the Churches, down to our times, without 
interruption, ever since the Apostles : " where the ques- 
tion is merely one of testimony, viz., whether they had 
the means of knowing that it had been and was so held ; 
for if it was the belief of so many and independent 
Churches at once, and that, on the ground of its being 
from the Apostles, doubtless it cannot but be true and 

This, I say, is the mode in which the Fathers speak as 
regards doctri7ie ; but it is otherwise when they interpret 
prophecy. In this matter there seems to have been no 
catholic, no formal and distinct, or at least no authorita- 
tive traditions ; so that when they interpret Scripture 
they are for the most part giving, and profess to be 
giving, either their own private opinions, or vague, float- 
ing, and merely general anticipations. This is what might 
have been expected ; for it is not ordinarily the course 
of Divine Providence to interpret prophecy before the 
event. What the Apostles disclosed concerning the 
future, was for the most part disclosed by them in private, 
to individuals — not committed to writing, not intended 
for the edifying of the body of Christ, — and was soon 
lost. Thus, in a few verses after the passage I have 
quoted, St. Paul says, " Remember ye not, that when 
I was yet with you, I told you these things } " and he 
writes by hints and allusions, not speaking out. And 
it shows how little care was taken to discriminate and 
authenticate his prophetical intimations, that the Thes- 

The Titnes of Antichrist. 47 

salonians had adopted an opinion, that he had said — 
what in fact he had not said— that the Day of Christ 
was immediately at hand. 

Yet, though the Fathers do not convey to us the inter- 
pretation of prophecy with the same certainty as they 
convey doctrine, yet, in proportion to their agreement, 
their personal weight, and the prevalence, or again the 
authoritative character of the opinions they are stating, 
they are to be read with deference ; for, to say the least, 
they are as likely to be right as commentators now ; in 
some respects more so, because the interpretation of pro- 
phecy has become in these times a matter of controversy 
and party. And passion and prejudice have so inter- 
fered with soundness of judgment, that it is difficult to 
say who is to be trusted to interpret it, or whether a pri- 
vate Christian may not be as good an expositor as those 
by whom the office has been assumed. 


Now to turn to the passage in question, which I shall 
examine by arguments drawn from Scripture, without 
being solicitous to agree, or to say why I am at issue, 
with modern commentators : " That Day shall not 
come, except there come a falling away first." Here 
the sign of the second Advent is said to be a certain fright- 
ful apostasy, and the manifestation of the man of sin, 
the son of perdition — that is, as he is commonly called, 
Antichrist. Our Saviour seems to add, that that sign 
will immediately precede Him, or that His coming will 
follow close upon it ; for after speaking of " false pro- 
phets " and " false Christs," " showing signs and won- 
ders," "iniquity abounding," and "love waxing cold," 
and the like, He adds, "When ye shall see all these 
things, know that it is near, even at the doors." Again 

48 The PatristicaL Idea of Antichrist, 

He says, "When ye shall see the Abomination of 
Desolation . . . stand in the holy place . . . then let 
them that be in Judea flee into the mountains."* Indeed, 
St. Paul also implies this, when he says that Anti- 
christ shall be destroyed by the brightness of Christ's 

First, then, I say, if Antichrist is to come immediately 
before Christ, and to be the sign of His coming, it is 
manifest that Antichrist is not come yet, but is still to 
be expected ; for, else Christ would have come before now. 

Further, it appears that the time of Antichrist's tyranny 
will be three years and a half, or, as Scripture expresses 
it, "a time, and times, and a dividing of time," or "forty- 
two months," — which is an additional reason for believ- 
ing he is not come ; for, if so, he must have come quite 
lately, his time being altogether so short ; that is, within 
the last three years, and this we cannot say he has. 

Besides, there are two other circumstances of his 
appearance, which have not been fulfilled. First, a time 
of unexampled trouble. " Then shall be great tribu- 
lation, such as was not from the beginning of the world 
to this time, no, nor ever shall be ; and except those days 
should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved."t 
This has not yet been. Next, the preaching of the 
Gospel throughout the world — " And this Gospel of the 
kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness 
unto all nations, and then shall the end come."J 


Now it may be objected to this conclusion, that St. 

Paul says, in the passage before us, that " the mystery 

of iniquity doth already work," that is, even in his day, as 

tf Antichrist had in fact come even then. But he would 

• Matt. xxiv. l6, 33. f lb. 21, 22. % lb. 14. 

The Times of Antich7'ist. 49 

seem to mean merely this, that in his day there were 
shadows and forebodings, earnests, and operative ele- 
ments, of that which was one day to come in its fulness. 
Just as the types of Christ went before Christ, so the 
shadows of Antichrist precede him. In truth, every 
event of this world is a type of those that follow, history 
proceeding forward as a circle ever enlarging. The 
days of the Apostles typified the last days : there were 
false Christs, and risings, and troubles, and persecutions, 
and the judicial destruction of the Jewish Church. In 
like manner, every age presents its own picture of those 
still future events, which, and which alone, are the real ful- 
filment of the prophecy which stands at the head of all 
of them. Hence St. John says, " Little children, it is the 
last time ; and as ye have heard that the Antichrist 
shall come, even 7iow are there many Antichrists ; 
whereby we know that it is the last time."* Antichrist 
was come, and was not come ; it was, and it was not 
the last time. In the sense in which the Apostles' day 
'might be called the "last time," and the end of the 
world, it was also the time of Antichrist. 

A second objection may be made as follows : St. Paul 
says, "Now ye know what withholdeth, that he (Anti- 
christ) might be revealed in his time." Here a something 
is mentioned as keeping back the manifestation of the 
enemy of truth. He proceeds : " He that now withhold- 
eth, will withhold, until he be taken out of the way." Now 
this restraining power was in early times considered to be 
the Roman Empire, but the Roman Empire (it is argued) 
has long been taken out of the way ; it follows that Anti- 
christ has long since come. In answer to this objec- 
tion, I would grant that he "that withholdeth," or 
"hindereth," means the power of Rome, for all the ancient 

• I John iu 18. 

♦ 4 

50 The Patristical Idea of Antichrist. 

writers so speak of it. And I grant that as Rome, 
according to the prophet Daniel's vision, succeeded 
Greece, so Antichrist succeeds Rome, and the Second 
Coming succeeds Antichrist * But it does not hence fol- 
low that Antichrist is come : for it is not clear that the 
Roman Empire is gone. Far from it : the Roman Em- 
pire in the view of prophecy, remains even to this day. 
Rome had a very different fate from the other three mon- 
sters mentioned by the Prophet, as will be seen by his 
description of it. " Behold a fourth beast, dreadful and 
terrible, and strong exceedingly ; and it had great iron 
teeth : it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the 
residue with the feet of it : and it was diverse from all 
the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns." -f These 
ten horns, an Angel informed him, " are ten kings that 
shall rise out of this kingdom" of Rome. As, then, the ten 
horns belonged to the fourth beast, and were not separate 
from it, so the kingdoms, into which the Roman Empire 
was to be divided, are but the continuation and termina- 
tion of that Empire itself, — which lasts on, and in some 
sense lives in the view of prophecy, however we decide the 
historical question. Consequently, we have not yet seen 
the end of the Roman Empire. " That which with- 
holdeth " still exists, up to the manifestation of its ten 
horns ; and till it is removed, Antichrist will not come. 
And from the midst of those horns he will arise, as the 
same Prophet informs us : "I considered the horns, and 
behold, there came up among them another little horn ; 
. . . and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of 
a man, and a mouth speaking great things." 

Up to the time, then, when Antichrist shall actually 
appear, there has been and will be a continual effort to 
manifest him to the world on the part of the powers 

* Chrj-sostom in loco. + Dr.n. vii. 7. 

The Times of Antichrist. 51 

of evil. The history of the Church is the history of that 
long birth. " The mystery of iniquity doth already work," 
says St. Paul. " Even now there are many Antichrists," * 
says St. John, — "every spirit that confesseth not "that 
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God ; and tJiis 
is that spirit of the Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that 
it should come, and even now already is it in the worlds ■\ 
It has been at work ever since, from the time of the 
Apostles, though kept under by him that " withholdeth." 
At this very time there is a fierce struggle, the spirit of 
Antichrist attempting to rise, and the political power in 
those countries which are prophetically Roman, firm and 
vigorous in repressing it. And in fact, we actually have 
before our eyes, as our fathers also in the generation 
before us, a fierce and lawless principle everywhere at 
work — a spirit of rebellion against God and man, which 
the powers of government in each country can barely 
keep under with their greatest efforts. Whether this 
which we witness be that spirit of Antichrist,:}: which is 
one day at length to be let loose, this ambitious spirit, 
the parent of all heresy, schism, sedition, revolution, and 
war — whether this be so or not, at least we know from 
prophecy that the present framework of society and 
government, as far as it is the representative of Roman 
powers, is that which withholdeth, and Antichrist is that 
which will rise when this restraint fails. 


It has been more or less implied in the foregoing re- 
marks, that Antichrist is one man, an individual, not a 
power or a kingdom. Such surely is the impression left 
on the mind by the Scripture notices concerning him, 
after taking fully into account the figurative character 
• I John ii. 18. f lb. iv. 3. * [5 L>oiM^.\ 

52 The Patristical Idea of Antichrist. 

of prophetical language. Consider these passages to- 
gether, which describe him, and see whether we must 
not so conclude. First, the passage in St. Paul's Epistle : 
" That day shall not come, except there come a falling 
away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of 
perdition, who is the adversary and rival of all that is 
called God or worshipped ; so that he sitteth as God in 
the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. . . . 
Then shall that Wicked One be revealed, whom the Lord 
shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall 
destroy with the brightness of His coming .... whose 
coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and 
signs and lying wonders." 

Next, in the prophet Daniel : "Another shall rise after 
them, and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall 
subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words 
against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of 
the Most High, and think to change times and laws : and 
they shall be given into his hand until a time and times, 
and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, 
and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and 
to destroy it unto the end." Again : "And the king shall 
do according to his will ; and he shall exalt and mag- 
nify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous 
things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the 
indignation be accomplished. . . . Neither shall he re- 
gard the God of his fathers, nor the Desire of women, nor 
regard any god ; for he shall magnify himself above all. 
But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces, and 
a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with 
gold and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant 
things." * Let it be observed, that Daniel elsewhere de- 
scribes other kings, and that the event has shown them 
• Dan. viL, xL 

The Times of Antichrist. 53 

certainly to be individuals, — for instance, Xerxes, Darius, 
and Alexander. 

And in like manner St. John : "There was given unto 
him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies ; 
and power was given unto him to continue forty and two 
months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy 
against God, to blaspheme His Name, and His taber- 
nacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given 
unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome 
them ; and power was given him over all kindreds and 
tongues and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth 
shall worship him, whose names are not written in the 
book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of 
the world."t 

Further, that by Antichrist is meant some one person, 
is made probable by the anticipations which, as I have 
said, have already occurred in history, of the fulfilment 
of the prophecy. Individual men have arisen actually 
answering in a great measure to the above descriptions ; 
and this circumstance creates a probability, that the 
absolute and entire fulfilment which is to come will be 
in an individual also. The most remarkable of these 
shadows of the destined scourge appeared before the 
time of the Apostles, between them and the age of 
Daniel, viz., the heathen king Antiochus, of whom we 
read in the books of Maccabees. This instance is the 
more to the purpose, because he is actually described, 
(as we suppose) by Daniel, in another part of his pro- 
phecy, in terms which seem also to belong to Antichrist, 
and, as belonging, imply that Antiochus actually was 
what he seems to be, a type of that more fearful future 
enemy of the Church. This Antiochus was the savage 
persecutor of the Jews, in their latter times, as Anti- 

f Rev. xiiL 

54 1^^^^ Patristical Idea of Antichrist. 

Christ will be of the Christians. A few passages from 
the Maccabees will show you what he was. St. Paul in 
the text speaks of an Apostasy, and then of Antichrist as 
following upon it ; and thus is the future of the Christian 
Church typified in the past Jewish history. " In those 
days went there out of Israel wicked men, who persuaded 
many, saying, Let us go and make a covenant with the 
heathen that are round about us : for since we departed 
from them, we have had much sorrow. So this device 
pleased them well. Then certain of the people were so 
forward herein, that they went to the king, who gave 
them licence to do after the ordinances of the heathen ; 
whereupon they built a place of exercise at Jerusalem, 
according to the custom of the heathen ; and made 
themselves uncircumcised, and forsook the holy covenant, 
and joined themselves to the heathen, and were sold to 
do mischief" Here was the Falling away. After this 
introduction the Enemy of truth appears. " After that 
Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again, .... 
and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great 
multitude, and entered proudly into the sanctuary, and 
took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light 
and all the vessels thereof, and the table of the shew- 
bread, and the pouring vessels, and the vials, and the 
censers of gold, and the veil, and the crowns, and 
the golden ornaments that were before the temple ; 
all which he pulled off. And when he had taken all 
away, he went into his own land, having made a great 
massacre, and spoken very proudly." After this he set 
fire to Jerusalem, " and pulled down the houses and 
walls thereof on every side. . . . Then built they the 
city of David with a great and strong wall, . . . and 
they put therein a sinful nation, wicked men, and forti- 
fied themselves therein." Next, " King Antiochus wrote 

The Times of Antichrist. 55 

to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people, 
and every one should leave his laws : so all the hea- 
then agreed according to the commandment of the king. 
Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his reli- 
gion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the sab- 
bath." After this he forced these impieties upon the 
chosen people. All were to be put to death who would 
not " profane the sabbath and festival days, and pollute 
the sanctuary and holy people, and set up altars, and 
groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine's flesh 
and unclean beasts," and '* leave their children uncircum- 
cised." At length he set up an idol, or, in the words of 
the history, " the Abomination of Desolation upon the 
altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of 
Juda on every side. . . . And when they had rent in 
pieces the books of the law which they found, they burnt 
them with fire." It is added, " Howbeit many in Israel 
were fully resolved and confirmed in themselves not to eat 
any unclean thing, wherefore they chose rather to die . . . 
and there was very great wrath upon Israel." * Here we 
have presented to us someof the lineaments of Antichrist, 
who will be such, and worse than such, as Antiochus. 

The history of the apostate emperor Julian, who lived 
between 300 and 400 years after Christ, furnishes us 
with another approximation to the predicted Antichrist, 
and an additional reason for thinking he will be one 
person, not a kingdom, power, or the like. 

And so again does the false prophet Mahomet, who 
propagated his imposture about 600 years after Christ 

Lastly, that Antichrist is one individual man, not a 
power, — not a mere ethical sp'irit, or a political system, 
not a dynasty, or succession of rulers, — was the universal 

• I Mac. L 

56 Tlic Patristical Idea of Aniichrkt. 

tradition of the early Church. " We must say," writes St. 
Jerome upon Daniel, " what has been handed down to us 
by all ecclesiastical writers, that, in the end of the world, 
when the Roman Empire is to be destroyed, there will 
be ten kings, to divide the Roman territory between 
them, and that an eleventh will rise up, a small king, 
who will subdue three of the ten, and thereupon receive 
the submission of the other seven. It is said that * the 
Horn had eyes, as the eyes of a man,* lest we should, as 
some have thought, suppose him to be the evil spirit, or 
a demon," whereas he is one man, in whom Satan shall 
dwell bodily. 'And a mouth speaking great things;' 
for he is the man of sin, the son of perdition, so that he 
dares to ' sit in the Temple of God, making himself as if 
God.' * The beast has been slain, and his carcase has 
perished ; ' since Antichrist blasphemes in that united 
Roman Empire, all its kingdoms are at one and the 
same time to be abolished, and there shall be no earthly 
kingdom, but the society of the saints, and the coming 
of the triumphant Son of God." " And Theodoret : 
" Having spoken of Antiochus Epiphanes, the prophet 
passes from the figure to the Antitype ; for the Antitype 
of Antiochus is Antichrist, and the figure of Antichrist 
is Antiochus. As Antiochus compelled the Jews to act 
impiously, so the Man of Sin, the son of perdition, will 
make every effort for the seduction of the pious, by false 
miracles, and by force, ahd by persecution. As the Lord 
says, * Then will be great tribulation, such as never was 
from the beginning of the world till this time, nor ever 
shall be.' " * 

What I have said upon this subject may be summed 
up as follows : — that the coming of Christ will be 
immediately preceded by a very awful and unparalleled 
• Jerom. in Dan. vii ; Theodor. in Dan. xi. 

The Times of Antichrist, 57 

outbreak of evil, called by St. Paul an Apostasy, a falling 
away, in the midst of which a certain terrible Man of 
sin and Child of perdition, the special and singular enemy 
of Christ, or Antichrist, will appear ; that this will be 
when revolutions prevail, and the present frarnework of 
society breaks to pieces ; and that at present the spirit 
which he will embody and represent is kept under by 
"the powers that be," but that on their dissolution, he will 
rise out of their bosom and knit them together again in 
his own evil way, under his own rule, to the exclusion of 
the Church. 


It would be out of place to say more than this at 
present. I will but insist on one particular circumstance 
contained in St. Paul's announcement which I have al- 
ready in part commented on. 

It is said there will " come a falling away, and the 
man of sin will be revealed." In other words, the Man 
of Sin is born of an Apostasy, or at least comes into 
power through an apostasy, or is preceded by an apos- 
tasy, or would not be except for an apostasy. So says 
the inspired text : now observe, how remarkably the 
course of Providence, as seen in history, has commented 
on this prediction. 

First, we have a comment in the instance of Antiochus 
previous to the actual events contemplated in the pro- 
phecy. The Israelites, or at least great numbers of 
them, put off their own sacred religion, ajid tJun the 
enemy was allowed to come in. 

Next the apostate emperor Julian, who attempted to 
overthrow the Church by craft, and introduce paganism 
back again : it is observable that he was preceded, nay, 
he was nurtured, by heresy ; by that first great heresy 
which disturbed the peace and purity of the Church. 

58 The Patristical Idea of Antich'}ist. 

About forty years before he became emperor, arose the 
pestilent Arian heresy which denied that Christ was 
God. It ate its way among the rulers of the Church 
like a canker, and what with the treachery of some, and 
the mistakes of others, at one time it was all but domi- 
nant throughout Christendom. The few holy and faith- 
ful men, who witnessed for the Truth, cried out, with 
awe and terror at the apostasy, that Antichrist was com- 
ing. They called it the " forerunner of Antichrist."* 
And true, his Shadow came. Julian was educated in 
the bosom of Arianism by some of its principal up- 
holders. His tutor was that Eusebius from whom its 
partizans took their name ; and in due time he fell 
away to paganism, became a hater and persecutor of the 
Church, and was cut off before he had reigned out the 
brief period which will be the real Antichrist's duration. 
And thirdly, another heresy arose, a heresy in its con- 
sequences far more lasting and far-spreading ; it was of 
a twofold character ; with two heads, as I may call them, 
Nestorianism and Eutychianism, apparently opposed to 
each other, yet acting towards a common end : both in 
one way or other denied the truth of Christ^s gracious in- 
carnation, and tended to destroy the faith of Christians 
not less certainly, though more insidiously, than the 
heresy of Arius. It spread through the East and through 
Egypt, corrupting and poisoning those Churches which 
had once, alas ! been the most flourishing, the earliest 
abodes and strongholds of revealed truth. Out of this 
heresy, or at least by means of it, the impostor Ma- 
homet sprang, and formed his creed. Here is another 
especial Shadow of Antichrist, 

• irpSSpofWi 'AvTixpi(TTov. — " Now is the Apostasy ; for men have fallen 
away from the right faith. This then is the Apostasy, and the enemy must 
be looked out for." — Cj'ril. Catech,, 15, n. 9. 

TJie Times of Antichrist. 59 

These instances give us warning : — Is the enemy 
of Christ, and His Church, to arise out of a certain 
special falling away from GOD ? And is there no reason 
to fear that some such Apostasy is gradually preparing, 
gathering, hastening on in this very day ? For is there 
not at this very time a special effort made almost all 
over the world, that is, every here and there, more or 
less in sight or out of sight, in this or that place, but 
most visibly or formidably in its most civilized and 
powerful parts, an effort to do without Religion ? Is 
there not an opinion avowed and growing, that a nation 
has nothing to do with Religion ; that it is merely a 
matter for each man's own conscience ? — which is all one 
with saying that we may let the Truth fail from the 
earth without trying to continue it in and on after our 
time. Is there not a vigorous and united movement in 
all countries to cast down the Church of Christ from 
power and place ? Is there not a feverish and ever-busy 
endeavour to get rid of the necessity of Religion in 
public transactions ? for example, an attempt to get rid 
of oaths, under a pretence that they are too sacred for 
affairs of common life, instead of providing that they be 
taken more reverently and more suitably ? an attempt 
to educate without Religion ? — that is, by putting all 
forms of Religion together, which comes to the same 
thing ; — an attempt to enforce temperance, and the vir- 
tues which flow from it, without Religion, by means of 
Societies which are built on mere principles of utility? 
an attempt to make expedience, and not triithy the end 
and the rule of measures of State and the enactments of 
Law ? an attempt to make numbers, and not the Truth, 
the ground of maintaining, or not maintaining, this or 
that creed, as if we had any reason whatever in Scripture 
for thinking that the many will be in the right, and the 

6o The Patristical Idea of Antichrist. 

few in the wrong ? An attempt to deprive the Bible of 
its one meaning to the exclusion of all other, to make 
people think that it may have an hundred meanings all 
equally good, or, in other words, that it has no meaning 
at all, is a dead letter, and may be put aside ? an at- 
tempt to supersede Religion altogether, as far as it is 
external or objective, as far as it is displayed in ordi- 
nances, or can be expressed by written words, — to con- 
fine it to our inward feelings, and thus, considering how 
variable, how evanescent our feelings are, an attempt, in 
fact, to destroy Religion ? 

Surely, there is at this day a confederacy of evil, 
marshalling its hosts from all parts of the world, organiz- 
ing itself, taking its measures, enclosing the Church of 
Christ as in a net, and preparing the way for a general 
Apostasy from it. Whether this very Apostasy is to 
give birth to Antichrist, or whether he is still to be 
delayed, as he has already been delayed so long, we 
cannot know ; but at any rate this Apostasy, and all its 
tokens and instruments, are of the Evil One, and savour 
of death. Far be it from any of us to be of those simple 
ones who are taken in that snare which is circling around 
us ! Far be it from us to be seduced with the fair 
promises in which Satan is sure to hide his poison ! Do 
you think he is so unskilful in his craft, as to ask you 
openly and plainly to join him in his warfare against the 
Truth ? No ; he offers you baits to tempt you. He 
promises you civil liberty ; he promises you equality ; 
he promises you trade and wealth ; he promises you a 
remission of taxes ; he promises you reform. This is 
the way in which he conceals from you the kind of work 
to which he is putting you ; he tempts you to rail against 
your rulers and superiors ; he does so himself, and in- 
duces you to imitate him ; or he promises you illumina- 

The Times of Antichnst. 6i 

tion, — he offers you knowledge, science, philosophy, 
enlargement of mind. He scoffs at times gone by ; he 
scoffs at every institution which reveres them. He 
prompts you what to say, and then listens to you, and 
praise? you, and encourages you. He bids you mount 
alofc. He shows you how to become as gods. Then he 
laughs and jokes with you, and gets intimate with you ; 
he takes your hand, and gets his fingers between yours, 
and grasps them, and then you are his. 

Shall we Christians allow ourselves to have lot or part 
in this matter } Shall we, even with our little finger, 
help on the Mystery of Iniquity which is travailing for 
birth, and convulsing the earth with its pangs .■• " O my 
soul, come not thou into their secret ; unto their assembly, 
mine honour, be not thou united." * " What fellowship 
hath righteousness with unrighteousness } and what 
communion hath light with darkness .-* Wherefore, 
come out from among them, and be ye separate," . . . 
lest you be workers together with God's enemies, 
and be opening the way for the Man of Sin, the son of 


The Religion of Antichrist. 

ST. JOHN tells us that "every spirit that confesseth 
not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is that 
spirit of Antichrist, which even now already is in the 
world." It was the characteristic of Antichrist, that he 
should openly deny our Lord Jesus Christ to be the 
Son of God come in the flesh from heaven. So exactly 
and fully was this description to answer to him, that to 
deny Christ might be suitably called the spirit of Anti- 
christ ; and the deniers of Him plight be said to have 
the spirit of Antichrist, to be like Antichrist, to be Anti- 
christs. The same thing is stated in a former chapter. 
" Who is the Liar, but he that denieth that Jesus is the 
Christ } he is the Antichrist, that denieth the Father 
and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same 
hath not the Father;"* from which words, moreover, 
it would appear that Antichrist will be led on from re- 
jecting the Son of God to the rejecting of God alto- 
gether, either by implication or practically. 

I shall now make some further observations on the 
characteristic marks of the predicted enemy of the 
Church ; and, as before, I shall confine myself to the in- 
terpretations of Scripture given by the early Fathers. 

My reason for doing so is simply this, — that on so 
difficult a subject as unfulfilled prophecy, I really can 

• I Jolin ii. 22, 23. 

'The Religion of Antichrist. 6"^ 

have no opinion of my own, nor indeed is it desirable I 
should have, or at least that I should put it forward in 
any formal way. The opinion of any one person, even 
if he were the most fit to form one, could hardly be of 
any authority, or be worth putting forward by itself; 
whereas the judgment and views of the early Church 
claim and attract our special regard, because for what we 
know they may be in part derived from traditions of the 
Apostles, and because they are put forward far more 
consistently and unanimously than those of any other set 
of teachers. Thus they have at least greater claims on 
our attention than those of other writers, be their claims 
little or great ; if they are little, those of others are still 
less. The only really strong claim wjiich can be made 
on our belief, is the clear fulfilment of the prophecy. 
Did we see all the marks of the prophecy satisfactorily 
answered in the past history of the Church, then we 
might dispense with authority in the parties setting the 
proof before us. This condition, however, can hardly 
be satisfied, because the date of Antichrist comes close 
upon the coming of Christ in judgment, and therefore 
the event will not have happened under such circum- 
stances as to allow of being appealed to. Nor indeed is 
any history producible in which are fulfilled all the marks 
of Antichrist clearly, though some are fulfilled here and 
there. Nothing then is left us, (if we are to take 
up any opinion at all, — if we are to profit, as Scripture 
surely intends, by its warnings concerning the evil 
which is to come,) but to go by the judgment of the 
Fathers, whether that be of special authority in this 
matter or not. To them therefore I have had re- 
course already, and now shall have recourse again. To 
continue, then, the "subject with the early Fathers as 
my guides. 

64 The Patristical Idea of Antichrist. 


It seems clear that St. Paul and St. John speak 
of the same enemy of the Church, from the similarity of 
their descriptions. They both say, that the spirit itself 
was already at work in their day. " That spirit of the 
Antichrist," says St. John, " is now already in the world." 
" The mystery of iniquity doth already work," says St. 
Paul. And they both describe the enemy as character- 
ized by the same especial sin, open infidelity. St. John 
says, that " he is the Antichrist that denietJi tJie Father 
and the Son ; " while St. Paul speaks of him in like 
manner as " t/ie adversary and rival of all that is called 
God, or worsJiipped ;" that "he sitteth as God in the 
Temple of God, setting forth himself that he is God." 
In both these passages, the same blasphemous denial of 
God and religion is described ; but St Paul adds, in 
addition, that he will oppose all existing religion, true or 
false, " all that is called God, or worshipped." 

Two other passages of Scripture may be adduced, 
predicting the same reckless impiety ; one from the 
eleventh chapter of Daniel : " The king shall do accord- 
ing to his will ; and he shall exalt himself and magnify 
himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous 
things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the 
indignation be accomplished. . . . Neither shall he re- 
gard the God of his fathers, nov the Desire of women, nor 
regard any god — for he shall magnify himself above ally 

The other passage is faintly marked with any prophetic 
allusion in itself, except that all our Saviour's sayings 
have a deep meaning, and the Fathers take this in par- 
ticular to have such. " I am come in My Father's 
Name, and ye receive Me not ; if another shall come in 
his own name, him ye will receive." * This they consider 
• John V. 43. 

The Religion of Antichrist. 65 

to be a prophetic allusion to Antichrist, whom the Jews 
were to mistake for the Christ. He is to come " in His 
own name." Not from God, as even the Son of God 
came, who if any might have come in the power of His 
essential divinity, not in God's Name, not with any pre- 
tence of a mission from Him, but in his own name, by a 
blasphemous assumption of divine power, thus will 
Antichrist come. 

To the above passages may be added those which 
speak generally of the impieties of the last age of the 
world, impieties which we may believe will usher in and 
be completed in Antichrist : — 

" Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be 
increased. . . . Many shall be purified, and made white, 
and tried : but the wicked shall do wickedly ; and none 
of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall 
understand."* "In the last days perilous times shall 
come, for men shall be lovers of their own selves, 
covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to 
parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, 
trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers 
of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, 
lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a 
form of godliness but denying the power thereof: "f 
"scoffers walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where 
is the promise of His coming .-•":{: " despising govern- 
ment, presumptuous . . . self-willed, not afraid to speak 
evil of dignities . . . promising men liberty, while them- 
selves the servants of corruption : " § and the like. 


I just now made mention of the Jews : it may be well 

• Dan. xii. 4, 10. \ 2 Pet. iii. 3, 4. 

f 2 Tim. iii. 2 — 5. § 2 Pet. ii. 10, 19. 


66 The Patristical Idea of Antichrist. 

then to state what was held in the early Church concern- 
ing Antichrist's connexion with them. 

Our Lord foretold that many should come in His 
name, saying, " I am Christ." It was the judicial punish- 
ment of the Jews, as of all unbelievers in one way or 
another, that, having rejected the true Christ, they should 
take up with a false one ; and Antichrist will be the com- 
plete and perfect seducer, towards whom all who were 
previous are approximations, according to the words 
just now quoted, "If another shall come in his own 
name, him ye will receive." To the same purport are 
St. Paul's words after describing Antichrist ; " whose 
coming," he says, "is . . . with all deceivableness of 
unrighteousness in them that perish, because they 
received not the love of the Truth, that they might be 
saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong 
delusion that they should believe a lie, that they all 
might be damned who believed not the Truth, but had 
pleasure in unrighteousness." 

Hence, considering that Antichrist would pretend to 
be the Messiah, it was of old the received notion that he 
was to be of Jewish race and to observe the Jewish rites. 
Further, St. Paul says that Antichrist should "sit in 
the Temple of God ; " that is, according to the earlier 
Fathers, in the Jewish Temple. Our Saviour's own 
words may be taken to support this notion, because He 
speaks of " the Abomination of Desolation " (which, 
whatever other meanings it might have, in its fulness 
denotes Antichrist) "standing in the holy placey Further, 
the persecution of Christ's witnesses which Antichrist 
will cause, is described by St. John as taking place in 
Jerusalem. " Their dead bodies shall lie in the street 
of the great city, (which spiritually is called Sodom and 
Egypt,) where also our Lord was crucified." 

TJie Religion of Antichrist. 67 

Now here a remark may be made. At first sight, I 
suppose, we should not consider that there was much 
evidence from the Sacred Text for Antichrist taking 
part with the Jews, or having to do with their Temple. 
It is, then, a very remarkable fact, that the apostate 
emperor Julian, who was a type and earnest of the great 
enemy, should, as he did, have taken part with the Jews, 
and set about building their Temple. Here the history 
is a sort of comment on the prophecy, and sustains and 
vindicates those early interpretations of it which I am 
reviewing. Of course I must be understood to mean, and 
a memorable circumstance it is, that this belief of the 
Church that Antichrist should be connected with the 
Jews, was expressed long before Julian's time, and that 
we still possess the works in which it is contained. In 
fact we have the writings of two Fathers, both Bishops 
and martyrs of the Church, who lived at least one 
hundred and fifty years before Julian, and less than one 
hundred years after St. John. They both distinctly 
declare Antichrist's connexion with the Jews. 

The first of them, Irenaeus, speaks as follows : " In the 
Temple which is at Jerusalem the adversary will sit, 
endeavouring to show himself to be the Christ." 

And the second, Hippolytus : "Antichrist will be he 
who shall resuscitate the kingdom of the Jews." * 


Next let us ask. Will Antichrist profess any sort of 
reHgion at all } Neither true God nor false god will he 
worship : so far is clear, and yet something more, and 

* Iren Hser. v. 25. Hippol. de Antichristo, § 25. St. Cyril of Jeru- 
salem also speaks of Antichrist building the Jewish Temple ; and he too 
wrote before Julian's attempt, and (what is remarkable) prophesied it would 
fail, because of the prophecies. — Vide Ruff, Hist. i. 37. 

68 The t^atristicac laea of Antichrist. 

that obscure, is told us. Indeed, as far as the prophetic 
accounts go, they seem at first sight incompatible with 
each other. Antichrist is to " exalt himself over all 
that is called God or worshipped." He will set himself 
forcibly against idols and idolatry, as the early writers 
agree in declaring. Yet in the book of Daniel we read, 
" In his estate shall he honour the god of forces ; and a 
god whoin his fathers knew not shall he honour with 
gold and silver, and with precious stones and pleasant 
things. Thus shall he do in the most strongholds with 
a strange god, zvhom he shall acknowledge and increase 
with glory." * What is meant by the words translated 
" god of forces," and afterwards called " a strange god," 
is quite hidden from us, and probably will be so till the 
event ; but anyhow some sort of false worship is cer- 
tainly predicted as the mark of Antichrist, with this 
prediction the contrary way, that he shall set himself 
against all idols, as well as against the true God. Now 
it is not at all extraordinary that there should be this 
contrariety in the prediction, for we know generally that 
infidelity leads to superstition, and that the men most 
reckless in their blasphemy are cowards also as regards 
the invisible world. They cannot be consistent if they 
would. But let me notice here a remarkable coincidence, 
which is contained in the history of that type or shadow 
of the final apostasy which scared the world some forty 
or fifty years ago, — a coincidence between actual events 
and prophecy sufficient to show us that the apparent 
contradiction in the latter may easily be reconciled, 
though beforehand we may not see how ; sufficient to 
remind us that the all-watchful eye, and the all-ordain- 
ing hand of God is still over the world, and that the 
seeds, sown in prophecy above two thousand years since, 

• Dan. xi. 38, 39. 

The Religion of Antichrist. 6g 

are not dead, but from time to time, by blade and tender 
shoot, give earnest of the future harvest. Surely the 
world is impregnated with the elements of preternatural 
evil, which ever and anon, in unhealthy seasons, give 
lowering and muttering tokens of the wrath to come ! 

In that great and famous nation over against us, once 
great for its love of Christ's Church, since memorable for 
the deeds of blasphemy, which leads me here to mention 
it, and now, when it should be pitied and prayed for, 
made unhappily, in too many respects, our own model — 
followed when it should be condemned, and admired 
when it should be excused, — in the Capital of that 
powerful and celebrated nation, there took place, as we 
all well know, within the last fifty years, an open apos- 
tasy from Christianity ; nor from Christianity only, but 
from every kind of worship which might retain any 
semblance or pretence of the great truths of religion. 
Atheism was absolutely professed ; — and yet in spite of 
this, it seems a contradiction in terms to say it, a certain 
sort of worship, and that, as the prophet expresses it, 
"a strange worship," was introduced. Observe what 
this was. 

I say, they avowed on the one hand Atheism. They 
prevailed upon a wretched man, whom they had forced 
upon the Church as an Archbishop, to come before them 
in public and declare that there was no God, and that 
what he had hitherto taught was a fable. They wrote 
up over the burial-places that death was an eternal sleep. 
They closed the churches, they seized and desecrated 
the gold and silver plate belonging to them, turning, 
like Belshazzar, those sacred vessels to the use of their 
impious revellings ; they formed mock processions, clad 
in priestly garments, and singing profane hymns. They 
annulled the divine ordinance of marriage, resolving it 

70 The Patristical Idea of Antic] irht. 

into a mere civil contract to be made and dissolved 
at pleasure. These things are but a part of their 

On the other hand, after having broken away from all 
restraint as regards God and man, they gave a name to 
that reprobate state itself into which they had thrown 
themselves, and exalted it, that very negation of religion, 
or rather that real and living blasphemy, into a kind of 
god. They called it LIBERTY, and they literally wor- 
shipped it as a divinity. It would almost be incredible, 
that men who had flung off all religion should be at the 
pains to assume a new and senseless worship of their 
own devising, whether in superstition or in mockery, 
were not events so recent and so notorious. After 
abjuring our Lord and Saviour, and blasphemously 
declaring Him to be an impostor, they proceeded to 
decree, in the public assembly of the nation, the adora- 
tion of Liberty and Equality as divinities : and they 
appointed festivals besides in honour of Reason, the 
Country, the Constitution, and the Virtues. Further, 
they determined that tutelary gods, even dead men, 
may be canonized, consecrated, and worshipped ; and 
they enrolled in the number of these some of the most 
notorious infidels and profligates of the last century. 
The remains of the two principal of these were brought 
in solemn procession into one of their churches, and 
placed upon the holy altar itself ; incense was offered to 
them, and the assembled multitude bowed down in wor- 
ship before one of them — before what remained on earth 
of an inveterate enemy of Christ. 

Now, I do not mention all this as considering it the 
fulfilment of the prophecy, nor, again, as if the fulfilment 
when it comes will be in this precise way, but merely to 
point out, what the course of events has shown to us in 

The Religion of Antichrisi, 7 1 

these latter times, that there are ways of fulfilling sacred 
announcements that seem at first sight contradictory, — 
that men may oppose every existing worship, true and 
false, and yet take up a worship of their own from pride, 
wantonness, policy, superstition, fanaticism, or other 

And further, let it be remarked, that there was a 
tendency in the infatuated people I have spoken of, to 
introduce the old Roman democratic worship, as if 
further to show us that Rome, the fourth monster of the 
prophet's vision, is not dead. They even went so far as 
to restore the worship of one of the Roman divinities 
(Ceres) by name, raised a statue to her, and appointed 
d festival in her honour. This indeed was inconsistent 
with exalting themselves "above «// that is called god;" 
but I mention the particular fact, as I have said, not as 
throwing light upon the prophecy, but to show that the 
spirit of old Rome has not passed from the world, though 
its name is almost extinct. 

Still further, it is startling to observe, that the former 
Apostate, in the early times, the Emperor Julian, he too 
was engaged in bringing back Roman Paganism. 

Further still, let it be observed that Antiochus too, 
the Antichrist before Christ, the persecutor of the Jews, 
he too signalized himself in forcing the Pagan worship 
upon them, introducing it even into the Temple. 

We know not what is to come; but this we may safely 
say, that, improbable as it is that Paganism should ever 
be publicly restored and enforced by authority for any 
period, however short, even three years and a half, yet 
it is far less improbable now than it was fifty years 
ago, before the event occurred which I have referred to. 
Who would not have been thought a madman or idiot, 
before that period, who had conjectured such a porten- 

72 The Patristical Idea of Antichrist. 

tous approximation towards Paganism as actually then 
took place ? 


Now let us recur to the ancient Fathers, and see 
whether their further anticipations do not run parallel 
to the events which have since happened. 

Antichrist, as they considered, will come out of the 
Roman Empire just upon its destruction ; — that is, the 
Roman Empire will in its last days divide itself into ten 
parts, and the Enemy will come up suddenly out of it 
upon these ten, and subdue three of them, or all of them 
perhaps, and (as the prophet continues) "shall speak 
great words against the Most High, and shall wear out 
the saints of the Most High, and think to change times 
and laws, and they shall be given into His hand until a 
time, and times, and the dividing of time."* Now it is very 
observable, that one of the two early Fathers whom I 
have already cited, Hippolytus, expressly says that the 
ten states which will at length appear, though kingdoms, 
shall also be democracies. I say this is observable, con- 
sidering the present state of the world, the tendency of 
things in this day towards democracy, and the instance 
which has been presented to us of democracy within the 
last fifty years, in those occurrences in France to which 
I have already referred. 

Another expectation of the early Church was, that the 
Roman monster, after remaining torpid for centuries, 
would wake up at the end of the world, and be restored 
in all its laws and forms ; and this, too, considering those 
same recent events to which I have referred, is certainly 
worth noticing also. The same Father, who anticipates 
the coming of democracies, expressly deduces from a 
passage in the xiiith chapter of the Apocalypse, that 

* Dan. vii. 25. 

The Religion of Antichrist. 73 

"the system of Augustus, who was founder of the Roman 
Empire, shall be adopted and established by him (Anti- 
christ), in order to his own aggrandizement and glory. 
This is the fourth monster whose head was wounded and 
healed ; in that the empire was destroyed and came to 
nought, and was divided into ten diadems. But at this 
time Antichrist, as being an unscrupulous villain, will 
heal and restore it ; so that it will be active and vigorous 
once more through the system which he establishes." * 

I will but notice one other expectation falling in with 
the foregoing notion of the re-establishment of Roman 
power, entertained by the two Fathers whom I have been 
quoting ; viz., one concerning the name of Antichrist, as 
spoken of in the xiiith chapter of the Revelation: "Here 
is wisdom," says the inspired text ; " let him that hath 
understanding count his number, for it is the number of 
a man, and his number is six hundred threescore and 
six." Both Iren^us and Hippolytus give a name, the 
letters of which together in Greek make up this number, 
characteristic of the position of Antichrist as the head 
of the Roman Empire in its restored state, viz., the word 
Latinus, or the Latin king. 

Irenaeus speaks as follows : " Expect that the empire 
will first be divided into ten kings ; then while they are 
reigning and beginning to settle and aggrandize them- 
selves, suddenly one will come and claim the kingdom, 
and frighten them, having a name which contains the 
predicted number (666) ; him recognize as the Abomina- 
tion of Desolation." Then he goes on to mention, to- 
gether with two other words, the name of Lateinos as 
answering to the number, and says of it, " This is very 
probable, since it is the name of the last empire ; — for 
the Latins " (that is, the Romans) " are now in power." f 
♦ Ibid., 27, 49. f He adds, that he himself prefers one of the other words. 

74 "■^^'-(^ Patristical Idea of Antichrist . 

And Hippolytus : " Since . . the wound of the first 
monster was healed .... and it is plain that the Latins 
are still in power, therefore he is called the Latin 
King (Latinus), the name passing from an empire to an 
individual." * 

Whether this anticipation will be fulfilled or not, we 
cannot say. I only mention it as showing the belief of 
the Fathers in the restoration and re-establishment of 
the Roman Empire, which has certainly since their day 
been more than once attempted. 

It seems then, on the whole, that, as far as the testi- 
mony of the early Church goes. Antichrist will be an 
open blasphemer, opposing himself to every existing 
worship, true and false, — a persecutor, a patron of the 
Jews, and a restorer of their worship, and, further, the 
author of a novel kind of worship. Moreover, he will 
appear suddenly, at the very end of the Roman Empire, 
which once was, and now is dormant ; that he will knit 
it into one, and engraft his Judaism and his new worship 
(a sort of Paganism, it may be) upon the old discipline 
of Caesar Augustus ; that in consequence he will earn 
the title of the Latin or Roman King, as best expressive 
of his place and character ; lastly, that he will pass 
away as suddenly as he came. 


Now concerning this, I repeat, I do not wish to pro- 
nounce how far the early Church was right or wrong in 
these anticipations, though events since have seriously 
tended to strengthen its general interpretations of Scrip- 
ture prophecy. 

It may be asked, however, What practical use is there 
in speaking of these things, if they be doubtful ? 

* Hippol. de Antichiisto, § 50. The Greek text seems corrupt. 

The Religion of Antichrist. 75 

I answer, first, that it is not unprofitable to bear in 
mind that we are still under what may be called a 
miraculous system, I do not mean to maintain that 
literal miracles are taking place now every day, but that 
our present state is a portion of a providential course, 
which began in miracle, and, at least at the end of the 
world, if not before, will end in miracle. The particular 
expectations above detailed may be right or wrong ; 
yet an Antichrist, whoever and whatever he be, is to 
come ; marvels are to come ; the old Roman Empire is 
not extinct ; Satan, if bound, is bound but for a season ; 
the contest of good and evil is not ended. I repeat it, 
in the present state of things, when the great object of 
education is supposed to be the getting rid of things 
supernatural, when we are bid to laugh and jeer at 
believing everything we do not see, are told to account 
for everything by things known and ascertained, and 
to assay every statement by the touchstone of experi- 
ence, I must think that this vision of Antichrist, as a 
supernatural power to come, is a great providential gain, 
as being a counterpoise to the evil tendencies of the age. 

And next, it must surely be profitable for our thoughts 
to be sent backward and forward to the beginning and the 
end of the Gospel times, to the first and the second com- 
ing of Christ. What we want, is to understand that we 
are in the place in which the early Christians were, with 
the same covenant, ministry, sacraments, and duties ; — ■ 
to realize a state of things long past away ; — to feel that 
we are in a sinful world, a world lying in wickedness ; 
to discern our position in it, that we are witnesses in 
it, that reproach and suffering are our portion, — so that 
we must not " think it strange " if they come upon us, 
but a kind of gracious exception if they do not; to 
have our hearts awake^ as if we had seen Christ and 

76 TJie Patristical Idea of Antichrist, 

His Apostles, and seen their miracles, — awake to the 
hope and waiting of His second coming, looking out for 
it, nay, desiring to see the tokens of it ; thinking often 
and much of the judgment to come, dwelling on and 
adequately entering into the thought, that we individually 
shall be judged. All these surely are acts of true and 
saving faith ; and this is one substantial use of the Book 
of Revelation, and other prophetical parts of Scripture, 
quite distinct from our knowing their real interpretation, 
viz., to take the veil from our eyes, to lift up the cover- 
ing which lies over the face of the world, and make us 
see day by day, as we go in and out, as we get up and 
lie down, as we labour, and walk, and rest, and recreate 
ourselves, the Throne of God set up in the midst of us, 
His majesty and His judgments, His Son's continual 
intercession for the elect, their trials, and their victory. 


The City of AntkhrisL 

THE Angel thus interprets to St. John the vision of 
the Great Harlot, the enchantress, who seduced 
the inhabitants of the earth. He says, " The woman 
which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over 
the kings of the earth." The city spoken of in these 
words is evidently Rome, which was then the seat of 
empire all over the earth, — which was supreme even in 
Judaea. We hear of the Romans all through the Gospels 
and Acts. Our Saviour was born when His mother 
the Blessed Virgin, and Joseph, were brought up to 
Bethlehem to be taxed by the Roman governor. He 
was crucified under Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. 
St. Paul was at various times protected by the circum- 
stance of his being a Roman citizen ; on the other hand, 
when he was seized and imprisoned, it was by the Roman 
governors, and at last he was sent to Rome itself, to the 
emperor, and eventually martyred there, together with 
St. Peter. Thus the sovereignty of Rome, at the time 
when Christ and His Apostles preached and wrote, which 
is a matter of historical notoriety, is forced on our notice 
in the New Testament itself. It is undeniably meant by 
the Angel when he speaks of "the great city which 
reigneth over the earth." 

The connexion of Rome with the reign and exploits 
of Antichrist, is so often brought before us in the con- 
troversies of this day, that it may be well, after what I 

78 The Patristical Idea 0/ Antic hr is L 

have already had occasion to say on the subject of the 
last enemy of the Church, to consider now what Scrip- 
ture prophecy says concerning Rome ; which I shall 
attempt to do, as before, with the guidance of the early 


Now let us observe what is said concerning- Rome, in the 
passage which the Angel concludes in the words which 
I have quoted, and what we may deduce from it. 

That great city is described under the image of a 
woman, cruel, profligate, and impious. She is described 
as arrayed in all worldly splendour and costliness, in 
purple and scarlet, in gold and precious stones, and 
pearls, as shedding and drinking the blood of the saints, 
till she was drunken with it. Moreover she is called by 
the name of " Babylon the Great," to signify her power, 
wealth, profaneness, pride, sensuality, and persecuting 
spirit, after the pattern of that former enemy of the 
Church. I need not here relate how all this really 
answered to the character and history of Rome at the 
time St. John spoke of it. There never was a more 
ambitious, haughty, hard-hearted, and worldly people 
than the Romans ; never any, for none else had ever the 
opportunity, which so persecuted the Church. Christians 
suffered ten persecutions at their hands, as they are 
commonly reckoned, and very horrible ones, extending 
over two hundred and fifty years. The day would fail 
to go through an account of the tortures they suffered 
from Rome ; so that the Apostle's description was as 
signally fulfilled afterwards as a prophecy, as it was 
accurate at the time as an historical notice. 

This guilty city, represented by St. John as an 
;}bandoned woman, is said to be seated on "a scarlet- 

Tlie City of AnticJirist. 79 

coloured monster, full of names of blasphemy, having 
seven heads and ten horns." Here we are sent back by 
the prophetic description to the seventh chapter of 
Daniel, in which the four great empires of the world are 
shadowed out under the figure of four beasts, a lion, a 
bear, a leopard, and a nameless monster, "diverse" from 
the rest, " dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly;" 
" and it had ten horns." This surely is the very same 
beast which St. John saw : the ten horns mark it. Now 
this fourth beast in Daniel's vision is the Roman Empire; 
therefore " the beast," on which the woman sat, is the 
Roman Empire. And this agrees very accurately with 
the actual position of things in history ; for Rome, the 
mistress of the world, might well be said to sit upon, 
and be carried about triumphantly on that world which 
she had subdued and tamed, and made her creature. 
Further, the prophet Daniel explains the ten horns of 
the monster to be " ten kings that shall arise" out of this 
Empire ; in which St. John agrees, saying, " The ten 
horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have 
received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings 
one hour with the beast." Moreover in a former vision 
Daniel speaks of the Empire as destined to be "divided," 
as "partly strong and partly broken."* Further still, 
this Empire, the beast of burden of the woman, was at 
length to rise against her and devour her, as some savage 
animal might turn upon its keeper ; and it was to do 
this in the time of its divided or multiplied existence. 
" The ten horns which thou sawest upon him, these shall 
hate" her, "and shall make her desolate and naked, and 
shall eat her flesh and burn her with fire." Such was to 
be the end of the great city. Lastly, three of the kings, 
perhaps all, are said to be subdued by Antichrist, who 
• Dan. ii. 41, 42. 

8o The Pair istical Idea of Antichrist. 

is to come up suddenly while they are in power ; for 
such is the course of Daniel's prophecy : " Another shall 
rise after them, and he shall be diverse from the first, 
and he shall subdue three kings, and he shall speak 
great words against the Most High, and shall wear out 
the saints of the Most High, and think to change times 
and laws ; and they shall be given into his hands until a 
time, times, and the dividing of time." This power, who 
was to rise upon the kings, is Antichrist ; and I would 
have you observe how Rome and Antichrist stand to- 
wards each other in the prophecy. Rome is to fall before 
Antichrist rises ; for the ten kings are to destroy Rome, 
and Antichrist is then to appear and supersede the ten 
kings. As far as we dare judge from the words, this 
seems clear. First, St. John says, " The ten horns shall 
liate and devour" the woman; secondly, Daniel says, 
" I considered the horns, and behold, there came up 
among them another little horn," viz.. Antichrist, "before 
whom" or by whom "there wefre three of the first horns 
plucked up by the roots." 


Now then, let us consider how far these prophecies have 
been fulfilled^ and what seems to remain unfulfilled. 

In the first place, the Roman Empire did break up, as 
foretold. It divided into a number of separate kingdoms, 
such as our own, France, and the like ; yet it is difficult 
to number ten accurately and exactly. Next, though 
Rome certainly has been desolated in the most fearful 
and miserable way, yet it has not exactly suffered from 
ten parts of its former empire, but from barbarians who 
came down upon it from regions external to it ; and, in 
ihe third place, it still exists as a city, whereas it was to 
be " desolated, devoured, and burned with fire." And, 

The City of Antichrist. 81 

fourthly, there is one point in the description of the 
ungodly city, which has hardly been fulfilled at all in the 
case of Rome. She had " a golden cup in her hand full 
of abominations," and made " the inhabitants of the 
earth drunk with the wine of her fornication ; " expres- 
sions which imply surely some seduction or delusion 
which she was enabled to practise upon the world, and 
which, I say, has not been fulfilled in the case of that 
great imperial city upon seven hills of which St. John 
spake. Here then are points which require some con- 

I say, the Roman Empire has scarcely yet been divided 
into ten. The Prophet Daniel is conspicuous among the 
inspired writers for the clearness and exactness of his 
predictions ; so much so, that some unbelievers, over- 
come by the truth of them, could only take refuge in 
the unworthy, and, at the same time, unreasonable and 
untenable supposition, that they were written after the 
events which they profess to foretell. But we have had 
no such exact fulfilment in history of the ten kings ; 
therefore we must suppose that it is yet to come. With 
this accords the ancient notion, that they were to come 
at the end of the world, and last for but a short time, 
Antichrist coming upon them. There have, indeed, 
been approximations to that number, yet, I conceive, 
nothing more. Now observe how the actual state of 
things corresponds to the prophecy, and to the primitive 
interpretation of it. It is difficult to say whether the 
Roman Empire is gone or not ; in one sense, it is gone, for 
it is divided into kingdoms ; in another sense, it is not, 
for the date cannot be assigned at which it came to an 
end, and much might be said in various ways to show 
that it may be considered still existing, though in a 
mutilated and decayed state. But if this be so, and if 

82 Tne Patristical Idea of Antichrist. 

it is to end in ten vigorous kings, as Daniel says, then it 
must one day revive. Now observe, I say, how the pro- 
phetic description answers to this account of it. " The 
wild Beast," that is, the Roman Empire, " the Monster 
that thou sawest, was and is not, and shall ascend out 
of the abyss, and go into perdition," Again mention is 
made of " the Monster that was, and is not, and yet is." 
Again we are expressly told that the ten kings and the 
Empire shall rise together ; the kings appearing at the 
time of the monster's resurrection, not during its languid 
and torpid state. " The ten kings . . . have received 
no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings one 
hour with the beast." If, then, the Roman Empire is 
still prostrate, the ten kings have not come ; and if the 
ten kings have not come, the destined destroyers of the 
woman, the full judgments upon Rome, have not yet 


Thus the full measure of judgment has not fallen 
upon Rome ; yet her sufferings, and the sufferings of 
her Empire, have been very severe. St. Peter seems to 
predict them, in his First Epistle, as then impending. 
He seems to imply that our Lord's visitation, which was 
then just occurring, was no local or momentary venge- 
ance upon one people or city, but a solemn and extended 
judgment of the whole earth, though beginning at Jeru- 
salem. " The time is come," he says, " when judgment 
must begin at t/ie house of God " (at the sacred city) ; 
" and, if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of 
them that ^ obey not the Gospel of God ? And if the 
righteous scarcely be saved," — {i. e., the remnant who 
should go forth of Zion, according to the prophecy, that 
chosen seed in the Jewish Church which received Christ 

The City of Antichrist. 83 

when He came, and took the new name of Christians, 
and shot forth and grew far and wide into a fresh Church, 
or, in other words, the elect whom our Saviour speaks 
of as being involved in all the troubles and judgments 
of the devoted people, yet safely carried through) ; " if 
the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly 
and the sinner appear," — the inhabitants of the world at 
large ? * 

Here is intimation of the presence of a fearful scourge 
which was then going over all the ungodly world, be- 
ginning at apostate Jerusalem, and punishing it. Such 
was the case : vengeance first fell upon the once holy 
city, which was destroyed by the Romans : it proceeded 
next against the executioners themselves.f The empire 
was disorganized, and broken to pieces by dissensions 
and insurpections, by plagues, famines, and earthquakess, 
while countless hosts of barbarians attacked it from the 
north and east, and portioned it out, and burned and 
pillaged Rome itself. The judgment, I say, which began 
at Jerusalem, steadily tracked its way for centuries round 
and round the world, till at length, with unerring aim, 
it smote the haughty mistress of the nations herself, the 
guilty woman seated upon the fourth monster which 
Daniel saw. I will mention one or two of these fearful 

Hosts of barbarians came down upon the civilized 
world, the Roman empire. One multitude — though 
multitude is a feeble word to describe them, — invaded 
France, % which was living in peace and prosperity under 
the shadow of Rome. They desolated and burned town 
and country. Seventeen provinces were made a desert. 

• Pet. iv. 17, 18. Vide also Jer. xxv; 28, 29. Ezek. ix. 6: 

t Vide Is. xlvii. 5, 6; 

' A. D. 40'/ Vidt Gibbon, Hist. vol. v. chap. 3a 

84 1^^^ Patristical Idea of AfitichrisL 

Eight metropolitan cities were set on fire and destroyed. 
Multitudes of Christians perished even in the churches. 

The fertile coast of Africa was the scene of another 
of these invasions.* The barbarians gave no quarter to 
any who opposed them. They tortured their captives, 
of whatever age, rank, and sex, to force them to discover 
their wealth. They drove away the inhabitants of the 
cities to the mountains. They ransacked the churches. 
They destroyed even the fruit-trees, so complete was the 

Of judgments in the course of nature, I will mention 
three out of a great number. One, an inundation from 
the sea in all parts of the Eastern empire. The water 
overflowed the coast for two miles inland, sweeping away 
houses and inhabitants along a line of some thousand 
miles. One great city (Alexandria) lost fifty thousand 

The second, a series of earthquakes ; some of which 
were felt all over the empire. Constantinople was thus 
shaken above forty days together. At Antioch 250,000 
persons perished in another. 

And in the third place a plague, which lasted (languish- 
ing and reviving) through the long period of fifty-two 
years. In Constantinople, during three months, there 
died daily 5,000, and at length 10,000 persons. I give 
these facts from a modern writer, who is neither favour- 
able to Christianity, nor credulous in matters of histori- 
cal testimony. In some countries the population was 
wasted away altogether, and has not recovered to this 

Such were the scourges by which the fourth monster 

• A.D. 430, Vide Gibbon, Hist. vol. vi. chap, 33. 
f A.D. 365. Ibid, vol, iv, chap. 26, 
X A,D. 540. Ibid, vol. vii. chap, 43. 

Tlie City of Antichrist, 85 

of Daniel's vision was brought low, " the Lord God's 
sore judgments, the sword, the famine, and the pesti- 
lence."* Such was the process by which "that which 
withholdeth," (in St. Paul's language) began to be "taken 
away ;" though not altogether removed even now. 

And, while the world itself was thus plagued, not less 
was the offending city which had ruled it. Rome was 
taken and plundered three several times. The inhabit- 
ants were murdered, made captives, or obliged to fly all 
over Italy. The gold and jewels of the queen of the 
nations, her precious silk and purple, and her works of 
art, were carried off or destroyed. 

These are great and notable events, and certainly form 
part of the predicted judgment upon Rome ; at the same 
time they do not adequately fulfil the prophecy, which 
says expressly, on the one hand, that the ten portions of 
the Empire itself which had almost been slain, shall rise 
up against the city, and " make her desolate and burn 
her with fire," which they have not yet done ; and, on 
the other hand, that the city shall experience a total 
destruction, which has not yet befallen her, for she still 
exists. St, John's words on the latter point are clear and 
determinate. " Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen ; 
and is become the habitation of devils, and the hole of 
every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful 
bird ;"t words which would seem to refer us to the curse 
upon the literal Babylon ; and we know how that curse 
was fulfilled. The prophet Isaiah had said, that in 
Babylon " wild beasts of the desert should lie there, and 
their houses be full of doleful creatures, and owls should 
dwell there, and satyrs," or wild beasts " dance there."+ 

* Ezek. xiv. 2i. f Rev. xviii. 2. J Isa. xiii. 21. 

86 The Patrisikal Idea of Antichrist. 

And we know that all this has in fact happened to 
Babylon ; it is a heap of ruins ; no man dwells there ; 
nay, it is difficult to say even where exactly it was placed, 
so great is the desolation. Such a desolation St. John 
seems to predict, concerning the guilty persecuting city 
we are considering; and in spite of what she has suffered, 
such a desolation has not come upon her yet. Again, 
"she shall be utterly burnt with fire, for strong is the 
Lord God, who judgeth her." Surely this implies utter 
destruction, annihilation. Again, " a mighty Angel took 
up a stone, like a great millstone, and cast it into the 
sea, saying, Thus with violence, shall that great city 
Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more 
at all." 

To these passages I would add this reflection. Surely 
Rome is spoken of in Scripture as a more inveterate 
enemy of God and His saints even than Babylon, as the 
great pollution and bane of the earth : if then Babylon 
has been destroyed wholly, much more, according to all 
reasonable conjecture, will Rome be destroyed one day. 

It may be farther observed that holy men in the early 
Church certainly thought that the barbarian invasions 
were not all that Rome was to receive in the way of 
vengeance, but that God would one day destroy it by 
the fury of the elements. " Rome," says Pope Gregory, 
at a time when a barbarian conqueror had possession 
of the city, and all things seemed to threaten its de- 
struction, " Rome shall not be destroyed by the nations, 
but shall consume away internally, worn out by storms 
of lightning, whirlwinds, and earthquakes." * In accord- 
ance with this is the prophecy ascribed to St. Malachi 
of Armagh, a! mediaeval Archbishop (a.d. 1130), which 
declares, " In the last persecution of the Holy Church, 

* Greg. Dial ii. 15. 

The City of Antichrist. 87 

Peter of Rome shall be on the throne, who shall feed his 
flock in many tribulations. When these are past, the 
city upon seven hills shall be destroyed, and the awful 
Judge shall judge the people."* 

This is what may be said on the one side, but after 
all something may be said on the other ; not indeed 
to show that the prophecy is already fully accomplished, 
for it certainly is not, but to show that, granting this, 
such accomplishment as has to come has reference, not 
to Rome, but to some other object or objects of divine 
vengeance. I shall explain my meaning under two heads. 

First, why has Rome not been destroyed hitherto ? 
how was it that the barbarians left it .? Babylon sank 
under the avenger brought against it — Rome has not : 
why is this .'' for if there has been a something to pro- 
crastinate the vengeance due to Rome hitherto, perad- 
venture that obstacle may act again and again, and stay 
the uplifted hand of divine wrath till the end come. 
The cause of this unexpected respite seems to be simply 
this, that when the barbarians came down, God had a 
people in that city. Babylon was a mere prison of the 
Church ; Rome had received her as a guest. The 
Church dwelt in Rome, and while her children suffered 
in the heathen city from the barbarians, so again they 
were the life and the salt of that city where they 

Christians understood this at the time, and availed 
themselves of their position. They remembered Abra- 
ham's intercession for Sodom, and the gracious an- 
nouncement made him, that, had there been ten 
righteous men therein, it would have been saved. 
* Vide Dr. Burton, Antiq. of Rome, p. 475. 

88 The Patristical Idea of AnticJirist. 

When the city was worsted, threatened, and at length 
overthrown, the Pagans had cried out that Christianity- 
was the cause of this. They said they had always 
flourished under their idols, and that these idols or devils 
(gods as they called them) were displeased with them 
for the numbers among them who had been converted to 
the faith of the Gospel, and had in consequence deserted 
them, given them over to their enemies, and brought 
vengeance upon them. On the other hand, they scoffed 
at the Christians, saying in effect, " Where is now your 
God ? Why does He not save you ? You are not better 
off than we ; " they said, with the impenitent thief, " If 
thou be the Christ, save Thyself and us ; " or with the 
multitude, " If He be the Son of God, let Him come 
down from the Cross." This was during the time of one 
of the most celebrated bishops and doctors of the Church, 
St. Augustine, and he replied to their challenge. He re- 
plied to them, and to his brethren also, some of whom 
were offended and shocked that such calamities should 
have happened to a city which had become Christian.* 
He pointed to the cities which had already sinned 
and been visited, and showed that they had altogether 
perished, whereas Rome was still preserved. Here, then, 
he said, was the very fulfilment of the promise of God, 
announced to Abraham ; — for the sake of the Christians 
in it, Rome was chastised, not overthrown utterly. 

Historical facts support St. Augustine's view of things. 
God provided visibly, not only in His secret counsels, that 
the Church should be the salvation of the city. The fierce 
conqueror Alaric, who first came against it, exhorted his 
troops " to respect the Churches of the Apostles St. 
Peter and St. Paul, as holy and inviolable sanctuaries ; " 
and he gave orders that a quantity of plate, consecrated 

* August, de Urbis Excidio, vol. vi. p. 622. ed. Ben. et de Civ. Dei, i. I — J. 

The City of A/itichrist. 89 

to St. Peter, should be removed into his Church from the 
place where it had been discovered.* 

Again, fifty years afterwards, when Attila was advanc- 
ing against the city, the Bishop of Rome of the day, St. 
Leo, formed one of a deputation of three, who went out 
to meet him, and was successful in arresting his purpose. 

A few years afterwards, Genseric, the most savage of 
the barbarian conquerors, appeared before the defenceless 
city. The same fearless pontiff went out to meet him at 
the head of his clergy, and though he did not succeed in 
saving the city from pillage, yet he gained a promise that 
the unresisting multitude should be spared, the buildings 
protected from fire, and the captives from torture.f 

Thus from theGroth, Hun, and Vandal did the Christian 
Church shield the guilty city in which she dwelt. What 
a wonderful rule of God's providence is herein displayed 
which occurs daily ! — the Church sanctifies, yet suffers 
with, the world, — sharing its sufferings, yet lightening 
them. In the case before us, she has (if we may humbly 
say it) suspended, to this day, the vengeance destined 
to fall upon that city which was drunk with the blood of 
the martyrs of Jesus. That vengeance has never fallen ; it 
is still suspended ; nor can reason be given why Rome 
has not fallen under the rule of God's general dealings 
with His rebellious creatures, and suffered (according to 
the prophecy) the fulness of God's wrath begun in it, 
except that a Christian Church is still in that city, sanc- 
tifying it, interceding for it, saving it. We in England 
consider that the Christian Church there has in process 
of time become infected with the sins of Rome itself, 
and has learned to be ambitious and cruel after the fashion 
of those who possessed the place aforetimes. Yet, if it 
were what many would make it, if it were as reprobate as 

* Vide Gibbon, Hist. vol. v. chrip. 31. Ibid. vol. vi. chap. 35, 36. 

90 Tlic Patristical Idea of Aiitichrisi. 

heathen Rome itself, what stays the judgment long ago 
begun ? why does not the Avenging Arm, which made 
its first stroke ages since, deal its second and its third, 
till the city has fallen ? Why is not Rome as Sodom 
and Gomorrah, if there be no righteous men in it ? 

This then is the first remark I would make as to that 
fulfilment of the prophecy which is not yet come; perhaps 
through divine mercy, it may be procrastinated even to 
the end, and never be fulfilled. Of this we can know 
nothing one way or the other. 

Secondly, let it be considered, that as Babylon is a 
type of Rome, and of the world of sin and vanity, so 
Rome in turn may be a type also, whether of some other 
city, or of a proud and deceiving world. The woman is 
said to be Babylon as well as Rome, and as she is some- 
thing more than Babylon, namely, Rome, so again she 
may be something more than Rome, which is yet to 
come. Various great cities in Scripture are made, in 
their ungodliness and ruin, types of the world itself. 
Their end is described in figures, which in their fulness 
apply only to the end of the world ; the sun and moon 
are said to fall, the earth to quake, and the stars to fall 
from heaven.* The destruction of Jerusalem in our Lord^s 
prophecy is associated with the end of all things. As 
then their ruin prefigures a greater and wider judgment, 
so the chapters, on which I have been dwelling, may have 
a further accomplishment, not in Rome, but in the world 
itself, or some other great city to which we cannot at 
present apply them, or to all the great cities of the world 
together, and to the spirit that rules in them, their avari- 
cious, luxurious, self-dependent, irreligious spirit. And 
in this sense is already fulfilled a portion of the chapter 
before us, which does not apply to heathen Rome ; — 1 

• Vide Isaiah xiii. lo. etc 

The City of A7itichrist. 91 

mean the description of the woman as making men 
drunk with her sorceries and delusions ; for such, surely, 
and nothing else than an intoxication, is that arrogant, 
ungodly, falsely liberal, and worldly spirit, which great 
cities make dominant in a country. 


To sum up what I have said. The question asked 
was. Is it not true (as is commonly said and believed 
among us) that Rome is mentioned in the Apocalypse, 
as having especial share in 'the events which will come 
at the end of the world by means, or after the time, 
of Antichrist ? I answer this, that Rome's judgments 
have come on her in great measure, when her Empire 
was taken from her ; that her persecutions of the Church 
have been in great measure avenged, and the Scripture 
predictions concerning her fulfilled ; that whether or not 
she shall be further judged depends on two circum- 
stances, first, whether "the righteous men" in the city 
who saved her when her judgment first came, will not, 
through God's great mercy, be allowed to save her still ; 
next, whether the prophecy relates in its fulness to Rome 
or to some other object or objects of which Rome is a 
type. And further, I say, that if it is in the divine 
counsels that Rome should still be judged, this must be 
before Antichrist comes, because Antichrist comes upon 
and destroys the ten kings, and lasts but a short space, 
but it is the ten kings who are to destroy Rome. On 
the other hand, so far would seem to be clear, that the 
prophecy itself has not been fully accomplished, what- 
ever we decide about Rome's concern in it. The Roman 
Empire has not yet been divided into ten heads, nor has 
it yet risen against the woman, whomsoever she stands for, 
nor has the woman yet received her ultimate judgment. 

92 Tlie Pair istical Idea of Antichrist. 

We are warned against sharing in her sins and in her 
punishment ; — against being found, when the end comes, 
mere children of this world and of its great cities ; with 
tastes, opinions, habits, such as are found in its cities ; 
with a heart dependent on human society, and a reason 
moulded by it ; — against finding ourselves at the last day, 
before our Judge, with all the low feelings, principles, 
and aims which the world encourages ; with our thoughts 
wandering (if that be possible then), wandering after 
vanities ; with thoughts which rise no higher than the 
consideration of our own comforts, or our gains ; with a 
haughty contempt for the Church, her ministers, her 
lowly people ; a love of rank and station, an admiration 
of the splendour and the fashions of the world, an affec- 
tation of refinement, a dependence upon our powers of 
reason, an habitual self-esteem, and an utter ignorance 
of the number and the heinousness of the sins which lie 
against us. If we are found thus, when the end comes, 
where, when the judgment is over, and the saints have 
gone up to heaven, and there is silence and darkness 
where all was so full of life and expectation, where shall 
we find ourselves then ? And what good could the 
great Babylon do us then, though it were as immortal 
as we are immortal ourselves ? 



The Persecution of Aiitichrist. 

WE have been so accustomed to hear of the per- 
secutions of the Church, both from the New 
Testament and from the history of Christianity, that it 
is much if we have not at length come to regard the 
account of them as words of course, to speak of them 
without understanding what we say, and to receive no 
practical benefit from having been told of them ; much 
less are we likely to take them for what they really are, 
a characteristic mark of Christ's Church. They are 
not indeed the necessary lot of the Church, but at least 
one of her appropriate badges ; so that, on the whole, 
looking at the course of history, you might set down 
persecution as one of the peculiarities by which you 
recognize her. And our Lord seems to intimate how 
becoming, how natural persecution is to the Church, by 
placing it among His Beatitudes, " Blessed are they 
who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is 
the kingdom of heaven ;" giving it the same high and 
honourable rank in the assemblage of evangelical graces, 
which the Sabbath holds among the Ten Command- 
ments, — I mean, as a sort of sign and token of His 
followers, and, as such, placed in the moral code, though 
in itself external to it. 

He seems to show us this in another way, viz., by in- 
timating to us the fact, that in persecution the Church 
begins and in persecution she ends. He left her in perse- 

94 •^'^^^ Patristical Idea 01 Aiiticlirist. 

cution, and He will find her in persecution. He recog- 
nizes her as His own, — He framed, and He will claim 
her, — as a persecuted Church, bearing His Cross. And 
that awful relic of Him which He gave her, and which 
she is found possessed of at the end, she cannot have 
lost by the way. 

The prophet Daniel, who shadows out for us so many 
things about the last time, speaks of the great perse- 
cution yet to come. He says, " There shall be a time of 
trouble, such as never was, since there was a nation, . 
even to that same time : and at that time thy people 
shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written 
in the Book." To these words our Lord seems to refer, 
in His solemn prophecy before His passion, in which He 
comprises both series of events, both those which at- 
tended His first, and those which will attend at His 
second coming — both persecutions of His Church, the 
early and the late. He speaks as follows : " Then shall 
be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning 
of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be ; and ex- 
cept those days should be shortened, there should no 
flesh be saved ; but for the elect's sake, those days shall 
be shortened." * 

Now I shall conclude what I have to say about the 
coming of Antichrist by speaking of the persecution 
which will attend it. In saying that a persecution will 
attend it, I do but speak the opinion of the early Church, 
as I have tried to do all along, and as I shall do in 
what follows. 


First, I will cite some of the principal texts which 
seem to refer to this last persecution. 

• Matt. xxiv. 21 22. 

Tlie Persecution of Antichrist. 95 

** Another shall rise after them, and ... he shall 
speak great words against the Most High, and shall 
wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to 
change times and laws ; and they shall be given into 
his hand until a time, times, and the dividing of time :" * 
that is, three years and a half. 

" They shall pollute the Sanctuary of strength, and 
shall take away the Daily Sacrifice, and they shall place 
the Abomination that maketh desolate, and such as do 
wickedly against the Covenant shall he corrupt by flat- 
teries ; but the people that do know their God shall be 
strong and do exploits. And they that understand 
among the people, shall instruct many ; yet they shall 
fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity; and by 
spoil, many days.'' f 

" Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried ; 
but the wicked shall do wickedly ; . . . . and from the 
time that the Daily Sacrifice shall be taken away, and 
the Abomination that maketh desolate set up, there 
shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days." % 

" Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since 
the beginning of the world," § and so on, as I just now 
read it. 

"And there was given unto him a mouth speaking 
great things and blasphemies ; and power was given 
unto him to continue forty and two months. And he 
opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blas- 
pheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that 
dwell in heaven : and it was given unto him to make 
war with the saints, and to overcome them .... and 
all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose 

• Dan. vii. 24, 25, J Dan. xii. 10, II. 

* Dan. xi. 31 — t-?. ^ Matt. xxiv. 21 

96 The Patristical Idea of Antichrist. 

names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb 
slain from the foundation of the world ." * 

" I saw an Angel come down from heaven, having the 
key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand ; 
and he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which 
is the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years 
.... and after that he must be loosed a little season 
.... and shall go out to deceive the nations which are 
in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to 
gather them together to battle ; the number of whom is 
as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the 
breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the 
saints about and the beloved city." f 

These passages were understood by the early Chris- 
tians to relate to the Persecution which was to come in 
the last times ; and they seem evidently to bear upon 
them that meaning. Our Lord's words, indeed, about 
the fierce trial which was coming, might seem at first 
sight to refer to the early persecutions, those to which 
the first Christians were exposed ; and doubtless so they 
do also : yet, violent as these persecutions were, they were 
not considered by those very men who underwent them 
to be the proper fulfilment of the prophecy; and this surely 
is itself a strong reason for thinking they were not so. 
And we are confirmed by parallel passages, such as the 
words of Daniel quoted just now, which certainly speak 
of a persecution still future ; if then our Lord used 
those very words of Daniel, and was speaking of what 
Daniel spoke of, therefore, whatever partial accomplish- 
ment His prediction had in the history of the early 
Church, He surely speaks of nothing short of the last 
persecution, when His words are viewed in their full 
scope. He says, " There shall be great tribulation, such 

* Rev. xiii. 5 — 8. f Rev. xx. i — 9. 

The Persecution of Antichrist. 97 

as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, 
no, nor ever shall be : and except those days should be 
shortened, there shall no flesh be saved ; but for the 
elect's sake those days shall be shortened." And imme- 
diately after, " There shall arise false Christs and false 
prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders ; inso- 
much that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very 
elect," In accordance with this language, Daniel says, 
" There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was 
since there was a nation, even to that same time : and 
at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one 
that shall be found written in the book." One of the 
passages I quoted from the Revelation says the same, 
and as strongly : " It was given him to make war with 
the Saints, and to overcome them .... and all that 
dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are 
not written in the book of life ." * 


Let us then apprehend and realize the idea, thus 
clearly brought before us, that, sheltered as the Church 
has been from persecution for 1500 years, yet a persecu- 
tion awaits it, before the end, fiercer and more perilous 
than any which occurred at its first rise. 

Further, this persecution is to be attended with the 
cessation of all religious worship. " They shall take away 
the Daily Sacrifice," — words which the early Fathers in- 
terpret to mean, that Antichrist will suppress for three 
years and a half all religious worship. St. Augustine 
questions whether baptism even will be administered to 
infants during that season. 

And further we are told : " They shall place the 
Abomination that maketh desolate " in the Holy Place 

• Rev. xiii 7, 8. 


9 8 TJie Patristical Idea of Antichrist. 

— they shall " set it up : " our Saviour declares the same. 
What this means we cannot pronounce. In the former 
fulfilment of this prophecy, it has been the introduction 
of heathen idols into God's house. 

Moreover the reign of Antichrist will be supported, it 
would appear, with a display of miracles, such as the 
magicians of Egypt effected against Moses. On this 
subject, of course, we wait for a fuller explanation of the 
prophetical language, such as the event alone can give 
us. So far, however, is clear, that whether false miracles 
or not, whether pretended, or the result, as some have 
conjectured, of discoveries in physical science, they will 
produce the same effect as if they were real, — viz., the 
overpowering the imaginations of such as have not the 
love of God deeply lodged in their hearts, — of all but 
the elect." Scripture is remarkably precise and con- 
sistent in this prediction. " Signs and wonders," says 
our Lord, " insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall 
deceive the very elect." St, Paul speaks of Antichrist 
as one "whose coming is after the work of Satan, with 
all powers and signs, and lying wonders, and with all 
deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish ; 
because they received not the love of the Truth, that they 
might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them 
strong delusion, that they should believe a lie."* And St. 
John : " He doeth great wonders, so that He maketh fire 
come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 
and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means 
of those miracles which He had power to do in the sight 
of the beast."t 

In these four respects, then, not to look for others, 
will the last persecution be more awful than any of the 
earlier ones : in its being in itself fiercer and more hor- 
• 2 Thess. ii. 9 — il. f Rev. xiii. 13, 14. 

The Persecution of Antichrist. gg 

rible ; in its being attended by a cessation of the Ordi- 
nances of grace, " the Daily Sacrifice ; " and by an open 
and blasphemous establishment of infidelity, or some 
such enormity, in the holiest recesses of the Church ; 
lastly, in being supported by a profession of working 
miracles. Well is it for Christians that the days are 
shortened ! — shortened for the elect's sake, lest they 
should be overwhelmed, — shortened, as it would seem, 
to three years and a half. 


Much might be said, of course, on each of these four 
particulars ; but I will confine myself to making one 
remark on the first of them, the sharpness of the perse- 
cution. — It is to be worse than any persecution before it. 
Now, to understand the force of this announcement, we 
should understand in some degree what those former 
persecutions were. 

This it is very difficult to do in a few words ; yet a 
very slight survey of the history of the Church would con- 
vince us that cruelties more shocking than those which 
the early Christians suffered from their persecutors, it is 
very difficult to conceive. St. Paul's words, speaking of 
the persecutions prior to his time, describes but faintly 
the trial which came upon the Church in his own day and 
afterwards. He says of the Jewish saints, "They were 
tortured, not accepting deliverance "... they " had 
trials of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea moreover, 
of bonds and imprisonment : they were stoned, they 
were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the 
sword : they wandered about in sheepskins and goat- 
skins ; being destitute, afflicted, tormented." Such were 
the trials of the Prophets under the Law, who in a mea- 
sure anticipated the Gospel, as in creed, so in sufifering ; 

icxD The Patristical Idea of Antichrist. 

yet the Gospel suffering was as much sharper as the 
Gospel creed was fuller than their foretaste of either. 

Let me take, as a single specimen, a portion of a letter, 
giving an account of some details of one of the perse- 
cutions in the south of France. It is written by eye- 

"... The rage of the populace, governor, and soldiers es- 
pecially lighted on Sanctus, a deacon ; on Maturus, a late convert ; 
on Attalus, and on Blandina, a slave, through whom Christ showed 
that the things which are lowly esteemed among men have high 
account with God. For when we were all in fear, and her own 
mistress was in agony for her, lest she should be unable to make 
even one bold confession, from the weakness of her body, Blandina 
was filled with such strength, that even those who tortured her 
by turns, in every possible way, from morning till evening, were 
wearied and gave it up, confessing she had conquered them. And 
they wondered at her remaining still alive, her whole body being 
mangled and pierced in every part. But that blessed woman, 
like a brave combatant, renewed her strength in confessing ; and it 
was to her a recovery, a rest, and a respite, to say, ' I am a 
Christian.' . . Sanctus also endured exceedingly all the cruelties 
of men with a noble patience . . and to all questions would 
say nothing but ' I am a Christian.' When they had nothing left 
to do to him, they fastened red-hot plates of brass on the tenderest 
parts of his body. But though his limbs were burning, he remained 
upright and unshrinking, steadfast in his confession, bathed and 
strengthened from Heaven with that fountain of living water that 
springs from the well of Christ. But his body bore witness of what 
had been done to it, being one entire wound, and deprived of the 
external form of man." 

After some days they were taken to the shows where 
the wild beasts were, and went through every torture 
again, as though they had suffered nothing before. Again 
they were scourged, forced into the iron chair (which 
was red hot), dragged about by the beasts, and so came 
to their end. " But Blandina was hung up upon a cross, 
and placed to be devoured by the beasts that were turned 

The Persecution of Antichrist. lOi 

in." Afterwards she was scourged ; at last placed in a 
basket and thrown to a bull, and died under the tossings 
of the furious animal. But the account is far too long and 
minute, and too dreadful, to allow of my going through 
it. I give this merely as a specimen of the sufferings 
of the early Christians from the malice of the devil. 

As another instance, take again the sufferings which 
the Arian Vandals inflicted at a later time. Out of four 
hundred and sixty Bishops in Africa, they sent forty-six 
out of the country to an unhealthy place, and confined 
them to hard labour, and three hundred and two to dif- 
ferent parts of Africa. After an interval of ten years 
they banished two hundred and twenty more. At another 
time they tore above four thousand Christians, clergy and 
laity, from their homes, and marched them across the 
sands till they died either of fatigue or ill-usage. They 
lacerated others with scourges, burned them with hot 
iron, and cut off their limbs.* 

Hear how one of the early Fathers, just when the 
early persecutions were ceasing, meditates on the pros- 
pect lying before the Church, looking earnestly at the 
events of his own day, in order to discover from them, 
if he could, whether the predicted evil was coming : 

" There will be a time of affliction, such as never happened since 
there was a nation upon the earth till that time. The fearful 
monster, the great serpent, the unconquerable enemy of mankind, 
ready to devour. . . The Lord knowing the greatness of the enemy, 
in mercy to the religious, says, ' Let those that are in Judea flee to 
the mountains.' However, if any feel within him a strong heart to 
wrestle with Satan, let him remain, (for I do not despair of the 
Church's strength of nerve,) let him remain, and let him say, ' Who 
shall separate us from the love of Christ ? ' . . . Thanks to God. 
who limits the greatness of the affliction to a few days ; ' for the 
elect's sake those days shall be cut short.' Antichrist shall reign 
• Gibbon, Hist., chap. 37. 

102 1 he Patristical Idea of Antichrist. 

only three years and a half, a time, times, and the dividing of 
times. ..." Blessed surely he who then shall be a martyr for 
Christ ! I consider that the martyrs at that season will be greater 
than all martyrs ; for the former ones wrestled with man only, but 
these, in the time of Antichrist, will battle with Satan himself per- 
sonally. Persecuting emperors slaughtered the former ; but they 
did not pretend to raise the dead, nor make show of signs and 
wonders : but here there will be the persuasion both of force and of 
fraud, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Let no one at 
that day say in his heart, ' What could Christ do more than this or 
that? by what virtue worketh he these things ? Unless God willed 
it. He would not have permitted it.' No : the Apostle forewarns 
you, saying beforehand, ' God shall send them a strong delusion,' — 
not that they may be excused, but condemned — viz., those who 
believe not in the Truth, that is, the true Christ, but take pleasure 
in unrighteousness, that is, in Antichrist. . . . Prepare thyself, 
therefore, O man ! thou hearest the signs of Antichrist ; nor remind 
only thyself of them, but communicate them liberally to all around 
thee. If thou hast a child according to the flesh, delay not to in- 
struct him. If thou art a teacher, prepare also thy spiritual children, 
lest they take the false for the True. ' For the mystery of iniquity 
doth already work.' I fear the wars of the nations, I fear the 
divisions among Christians, I fear the hatred among brethren. 
Enough ; but God forbid that it should be fulfilled in our day. 
However, let us be prepared," — Cyr. Catech. xv. i6, 17. 


I have two remarks to add : first, that it is quite cer- 
tain, that if such a persecution has been foretold, it has 
not yet come, and therefore is to come. We may be 
wrong in thinking that Scripture foretells it, though it 
has been the common belief, I may say, of all ages ; but 
if there be a persecution, it is still future. So that every 
generation of Christians should be on the watch-tower, 
looking out, — nay, more and more, as time goes on. 

Next, I observe that signs do occur from time to time, 
not to enable us to fix the day, for that is hidden, but to 
show us it is coming. The world grows old — the earth 

The Persecution of Antichrist. 103 

is crumbling away— the night is far spent— the day is at 
hand. The shadows begin to move — the old forms of 
empire, which have lasted ever since our Lord was with 
us, heave and tremble before our eyes, and nod to theii 
fall. These it is that keep Him from us — He is behind 
them. When they go, Antichrist will be released from 
" that which withholdeth," and after his short but fearful 
season, Christ will come. 

For instance : one sign is the present state of the 
Roman Empire, if it may be said to exist, though it 
does exist ; but it is like a man on his death-bed, who 
after many throes and pangs at last goes off when you 
least expect, or perhaps you know not when. You 
watch the sick man, and you say every day will be the 
last ; yet day after day goes on — you know not when 
the end will come — he lingers on — gets better — relapses, 
— yet you are sure after all he must die — it is a mere 
matter of time, you call it a matter of time : so is it 
with the Old Roman Empire, which now lies so still and 
helpless. It is not dead, but it is on its death-bed. 
We suppose indeed that it will not die without some 
violence even yet, without convulsions. Antichrist is to 
head it ; yet in another sense it dies to make way for 
Antichrist, and this latter form of death is surely hasten- 
ing on, whether it comes sooner or later. It may outlast 
our time, and the time of our children ; for we are crea- 
tures of a day, and a generation is like the striking of a 
clock ; but it tends to dissolution, and its hours are 

Again, another anxious sign at the present time is 
what appears in the approaching destruction of the 
Mahometan power. This too may outlive our day; still 
it tends visibly to annihilation, and as it crumbles, per- 
''hance the sands of the world's life are runninGf out. 

I04 The Patristical Idea of Antichrist. 

And lastly, not to mention many other tokens which 
might be observed upon, here is this remarkable one. 
In one of the passages I just now read from the book of 
Revelation, it is said that in the last times, and in order 
to the last persecution, Satan, being loosed from his 
prison, shall deceive the nations in the extremities of 
the earth, Gog and Magog, and bring them to battle 
against the Church. These appellations had been already 
used by the prophet Ezekiel, who borrows' the latter of 
them from the tenth chapter of Genesis. We read in 
that chapter, that after the flood the sons of Japheth 
were " Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and 
Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras." Magog is supposed 
to be the ancestor of the nations in the north, the Tar- 
tars or Scythians, Whatever then Gog means, which 
is not known, here is a prophecy that the northern 
nations should be stirred up against the Church, and 
be one of the instruments of its suffering. And it 
is to be observed, that twice since that prophecy was 
delivered the northern nations have invaded the Church, 
and both times they have brought with them, or rather 
(as the text in the Revelation expresses it) they have 
been deceived into, an Antichristian delusion, — been 
deceived into it, not invented it. The first irruption was 
that of the Goths and Vandals in the early times of the 
Church, and they were deceived into and fought for the 
Arian heresy. The next was that of the Turks, and 
they in like manner were deceived into and fought for 
Mahometanism. Here then the after history, as in 
other instances, is in part a comment upon the prophecy 
Now, I do not mean that as to the present time, we see 
how this is to be accomplished in its fulness, after the 
pattern of the Shadows which have gone before. But 
thus much we see — we see that in matter of fact the 

The Persecution oj AntichrisL 105 

nations of the North * are gathering strength, and be- 
ginning to frown over the seat of the Roman Empire as 
they never have done since the time when the Turks 
came down. Here then we have a sign of Antichrist's 
appearance — I do not say of his instant coming, or his 
certain coming, for it may after all be but a type o.*" 
shadow of things far future ; still, so far as it goes, it is 
a preparation, a warning, a call to sober thought — just 
as a cloud in the sky (to use our Lord's instance) warns 
us about the weather. It is no sure proof that it pre- 
cedes a storm, but we think it prudent to keep our eye 
upon it 

This is what I have to say about the last persecution 
and its signs. And surely it is profitable to think about 
it, though we be quite mistaken in the detail. For in- 
stance, after all perhaps it may not be a persecution of 
blood and death, but of craft and subtlety only — not of 
miracles, but of natural wonders and powers of human 
skill, human acquirements in the hands of the devil. 
Satan may adopt the more alarming weapons of deceit 
— he may hide himself — he may attempt to seduce us in 
little things, and so to move Christians, not all at once, 
but by little and little from their true position. We know 
he has done much in this way in the course of the last 
centuries. It is his policy to split us up and divide us, 
to dislodge us gradually from off our rock of strength. 
And if there is to be a persecution, perhaps it will be 
then ; then, perhaps, when we are all of us in all parts 
of Christendom so divided, and so reduced, so full of 
schism, so close upon heresy. When we have cast our- 
selves upon the world, and depend for protection upon 
* iE. g., The Chinese ?] 

io6 The Patristical Idea of Antichrist. 

it, and have given up our independence and our strength, 
then he may burst upon us in fury, as far as God allows 
him. Then suddenly the Roman Empire may break up, 
and Antichrist appear as a persecutor, and the barbarous 
nations around break in. But all these things are in 
God's hand and God's knowledge, and there let us leave 

This alone I will say, in conclusion, as I have already 
said several times, that such meditations as these may 
be turned to good account. It will act as a curb upon 
our self-willed, selfish hearts, to believe that a persecu- 
tion is in store for the Church, whether or not it comes 
in our days. Surely, with this prospect before us, we 
cannot bear to give ourselves up to thoughts of ease and 
comfort, of making money, settling well, or rising in the 
world. Surely, with this prospect before us, we cannot 
but feel that we are, what all Christians really are in the 
best estate (nay, rather would wish to be, had they their 
will, if they be Christians in heart), pilgrims, watchers 
waiting for the morning, waiting for the light, eagerly 
straining our eyes for the first dawn of day — looking 
out for our Lord's coming. His glorious advent, when 
He will end the reign of sin and wickedness, accomplish 
the number of His elect, and perfect those who at pre- 
sent struggle with infirmity, yet in their hearts love and 
obey Him, 



The above expositions of the teaching of the Fathers 
on the subject treated, were preached by the Author 
in the form of Sermons in Advent, 1835, and are illus- 
trated by the following remarkable passage in a letter 
of Bishop Horsley's, written before the beginning of this 
century ; vide British Magasijie, May, 1834. 

" The Church of God on earth will be greatly reduced, 
as we may well imagine, in its apparent numbers, in the 
times of Antichrist, by the open desertion of the powers 
of the world. This desertion will begin in a professed 
indifference to any particular form of Christianity, under 
the pretence of universal toleration ; which toleration 
will proceed from no true spirit of charity and forbear- 
ance, but from a design to undermine Christianity, by 
multiplying and encouraging sectaries. The pretended 
toleration will go far beyond a just toleration, even as 
it regards the different sects of Christians. For govern- 
ments will pretend an indifference to all, and will give 
a protection in preference to none. All establishments 
will be laid aside. From the toleration of the most pes- 
tilent heresies, they will proceed to the toleration of 
Mahometanism, Atheism, and at last to a positive per- 
secution of the truth of Christianity. In these times 
the Temple of God will be reduced almost to the Holy 
Place, that is, to the small number of real Christians who 
worship the Father in spirit and in truth, and regulate 
their doctrine and their worship, and their whole con- 
duct, strictly by the word of God. The merely nominal 

io8 The Patristical Idea of Ajitichrist. 

Christians will all desert the profession of the truth, 
when the powers of the world desert it. And this tragi- 
cal event I take to be typified by the order to St. John 
to measure the Temple and the Altar, and leave the 
outer court (national Churches) to be trodden under foot 
by the Gentiles. The property of the clergy will be 
pillaged, the public worship insulted and vilified by these 
deserters of the faith they once professed, who are not 
called apostates because they never were in earnest in 
their profession. Their profession was nothing more 
than a compliance with fashion and public authority. In 
principle they were always, what they now appear to be, 
Gentiles. When this general desertion of the faith takes 
place, then will commence the sackcloth ministry of the 
witnesses. . . , There will be nothing of splendour in 
the external appearance of their churches ; they will 
have no support from governments, no honours, no emolu- 
ments, no immunities, no authority, but that which no 
earthly power can take away, which they derived from 
Him, who commissioned them to be His witnesses." — 
B. M., vol. v., p. 52a 

June, 1838. 






Difficuliies in the Scripture Proof of the Catholic 

I PRO POSE in the following Lectures to suggest some 
thoughts by way of answering an objection, which 
often presses on the mind of those who are mquiring into 
the claims of the Church, and the truth of that system of 
doctrine which she especially represents, and which is at 
once her trust and her charter. They hear much stress laid 
upon that Church system of doctrine ; they see much 
that is beautiful in it, much that is plausible in the proof 
advanced for it, much which is agreeable to the analogy 
of nature — which bespeaks the hand of the Creator, 
and is suitable to the needs and expectations of the 
creature, — much that is deep, much that is large and free, 
fearless in its course, sure in its stepping, and singularly 
true, consistent, entire, harmonious, in its adjustments ; 
but they seem to ask for more rigid proof in behalf of 
the simple elementary propositions on which it rests ; 
or, in other words, by way of speaking more clearly, 
and as a chief illustration of what is meant (though it is 

I lO Scripture and the Creed. 

not quite the same thing), let me say, they desire more 
adequate and exphcit Scripture proof oi its truth. They 
find that the proof is rested by us on Scripture, and 
therefore they require more exphcit Scripture proof. 
They say, " All this that you say about the Church is 
very specious, and very attractive ; but where is it to be 
found in the inspired Volume ? " And that it is not 
found there (that is, I mean not found as fully as it 
might be), seems to them proved at once by the simple 
fact, that all persons (I may say all, for the exceptions 
are very few), — all those who try to form their Creed by 
Scripture only, fall away from the Church and her doc- 
trines, and join one or other sect or party, as if showing 
that, whatever is or is not scriptural, at least the Church, 
by consent of all men, is not so. 

I am stating no rare or novel objection : it is one which, 
I suppose, all of us have felt, or perhaps still feel : it is 
one which, before now (I do not scruple to say), I have 
much felt myself, and that without being able satisfac- 
torily to answer : and which I believe to be one of the 
main difficulties, and (as I think) one of the intended 
difficulties, which God's providence puts at this day in 
the path of those who seek Him, for purposes known or 
unknown, ascertainable or not. Nor am I at all sanguine 
that I shall be able, in what I have to say, to present 
anything .like a full view of the difficulty itself, even as 
a phenomenon ; which diffisrent minds feel differently, 
and do not quite recognize as their own when stated by 
another, and which it is difficult to bring out even ac- 
cording to one's own idea of it. Much less shall I be 
able to assign it its due place in that great Catholic 
system which nevertheless I hold to be true, and in 
which it is but a difficulty. I do not profess to be able 
to account for it, to reconcile the mind to it, and to dis- 

Difficuliies in Scripture Proof of Doctrine. 1 1 1 

miss it as a thing which was in a man's way, but is 
henceforth behind him ; — yet, subdued as my hopes may 
be, I have too great confidence in that glorious Creed, 
which I believe to have been once delivered to the Saints, 
to wish in any degree to deny the difficulty, or to be 
unfair to it, to smooth it over, misrepresent it, or defraud 
it of its due weight and extent. Though I were to grant 
that the champions of Israel have not yet rescued this 
portion of the sacred territory from the Philistine, its 
usurping occupant, yet was not Jerusalem in the hands 
of the Jebusites till David's time ? — and shall I, seeing 
with my eyes and enjoying the land of promise, be over- 
troubled with one objection, which stands unvanquished 
(supposing it) ; and, like haughty Haman, count the 
King's favour as nothing till I have all my own way, 
and nothing to try me ? In plain terms, I conceive I 
have otherwise most abundant evidence given me of the 
divine origin of the Church system of doctrine: how then 
is that evidence which is given, not given because, though 
given in Scripture, it might be there given more explicitly 
and fully, and (if I may so say) more consistently ? 

One consideration alone must create an anxiety in 
entering on the subject I propose. It is this : — Those who 
commonly urge the objection which is now to be cop- 
'sidered, viz., the want of adequate Scripture evidence for 
the Church creed, have, I feel sure, no right to make it ; 
that is, they are inconsistent in making it ; inasmuch as 
they cannot consistently find fault with a person who 
believes more than they do, unless they cease to believe 
just so much as they do believe. They ought, on their 
own principles, to doubt or disown much which happily 
they do not doubt or disown. This then is the direct, 
appropriate, polemical answer to them, or (as it is called) 
ati argumcnfum ad hoininem. " Look at home, and sa}^. 

112 Scripture and the Creed. 

if you can, why you believe this or that, which you do 
beheve : whatever reasons you give for your own behef 
in one point, this or that article, of your Creed, those 
parallel reasons we can give for our belief in the articles 
of our Creed. If you are reasonable in believing the 
one, we are reasonable in believing the other. Either 
we are reasonable, or you are not so. You ought not to 
stand where you are ; you ought to go further one way 
or the other." Now it is plain that if this be a sound 
argument against our assailants, it is a most convincing 
one ; and it is obviously very hard and very unfair if we 
are to be deprived of the use of it. And yet a cautious 
mind will ever use it with anxiety ; not that it is not 
most effective, but because it may be (as it were) too 
effective : it may drive the parties in question the wrong 
way, and make things worse instead of better. It only 
undertakes to show that they are inconsistent in their 
present opinions ; and from this inconsistency it is plain 
they can escape, by going further either one way or the 
other — by adding to their creed, or by giving it up alto- 
gether. It is then what is familiarly called a kill-or-cure 
remedy. Certainly it is better to be inconsistent, than 
to be consistently wrong — to hold some truth amid error, 
than to hold nothing but error — to believe than to doubt. 
Yet when I show a man that he is inconsistent, I make 
him decide whether of the two he loves better, the por- 
tion of truth or the portion of error, which he already 
holds. If he loves the truth better, he will abandon the 
error ; if the error, he will abandon the truth. And this 
is a fearful and anxious trial to put him under, and one 
cannot but feel loth to have recourse to it. One feels 
that perhaps it may be better to keep silence, and to let 
him, in shallowness and presumption, assail one's own 
position with impunity, than to retort, however justly, 

Difficulties in Scripture Proof of Doctrine. 1 13 

his weapons on himself ; — better for oneself to seem a 
bigot, than to make him a scoffer. 

Thus, for instance, a person who denies the ApostoUcal 
Succession of the Ministry, because it is not clearly taught 
in Scripture, ought, I conceive, if consistent, to deny 
the divinity of the Holy Ghost, which is nowhere literally 
stated in Scripture. Yet there is something so dreadful 
in his denying the latter, that one may often feel afraid 
to show him his inconsistency ; lest, rather than admit 
the Apostolical Succession, he should consent to deny 
that the Holy Ghost is God. This is one of the great 
deHcacies of disputing on the subject before us : yet, all 
things considered, I think, it only avails for the cautious 
use, not the abandonment, of the argument in question. 
For it is our plain duty to preach and defend the truth 
in a straightforward way. Those who are to stumble 
must stumble, rather than the heirs of grace should not 
hear. While we offend and alienate one man, we secure 
another ; if we drive one man further the wrong way, 
we drive another further the right way. The cause of 
truth, the heavenly company of saints, gains on the whole 
more in one way than in the other. A wavering or 
shallow mind does perhaps as much harm to others as a 
mind that is consistent in error, nay, is in no very much 
better state itself; for if it has not developed into 
systematic scepticism, merely because it has not had the 
temptation, its present conscientiousness is not worth 
much. Whereas he who is at present obeying God 
under imperfect knowledge has a claim on His Ministers 
for their doing all in their power towards his obtaining 
further knowledge. He who admits the doctrine of the 
Holy Trinity, in spite of feeling its difficulties, whether 
in itself or in its proof, — who submits to the indirectness 
of the Scripture evidence as regards that particular 


114 Scripture a?:d the Creed. 

doctrine, — has a right to be told those other doctrines, 
such as the ApostoHcal Succession, which are as certainly- 
declared in Scripture, yet not more directly and promi- 
nently, and which will be as welcome to him, when 
known, because they are in Scripture, as those which he 
already knows. It is therefore our duty to do our part, 
and leave the event to God, begging Him to bless, yet 
aware that, whenever He visits. He divides. 

In saying this, I by no means would imply that the 
only argument in behalf of our believing more than the 
generality of men believe at present, is, that else we 
ought in consistency to believe less — far from it indeed ; 
but this argument is the one that comes first, and is the 
most obvious and the most striking. Nor do I mean to 
say — far from it also — that all on whom it is urged, wilt 
in fact go one way or the other ; the many will remain 
pretty much where education and habit have placed them, 
and at least they will not confess that they are affected 
by any new argument at all. But of course when one 
speaks of anxiety about the effect of a certain argument, 
one speaks of cases in which it will have effect, not of those 
in which it will not. Where it has effect, I say, that 
effect may be for good or for evil, and that is an anxious 


Now then, first, let me state the objection itself, which 
is to be considered. It may be thrown into one or other 
of the following forms : that " if Scripture laid such 
stress, as we do, upon the ordinances of Baptism, Holy 
Eucharist, Church Union, Ministerial Power, Apostolical 
Succession, Absolution, and other rites and ceremonies, 
— upon external, or what is sometimes called formal 
religion, — it would not in its general tenor make such 

Difficulties in Scripture Proof of Doctrine. 1 1 5 

merely indirect mention of them ; — that it would speak 
of them as plainly and frequently as we always speak of 
them now; whereas every one must allow that there is 
next to nothing on the surface of Scripture about them, 
and very little even under the surface of a satisfactory 
character." Descending into particulars, we shall have 
it granted us, perhaps, that Baptism is often mentioned 
in the Epistles, and its spiritual benefits ; but " its pecu- 
liarity as the one plenary remission of sin," it will be urged, 
" is not insisted on with such frequency and earnestness 
as might be expected — chiefly in one or two passages of 
one Epistle, and there obscurely" (in Heb. vi. and x.) 
Again, " the doctrine of Absolution is made to rest on 
but one or two texts {in Matt. xvi. and John xx.), with 
little or no practical exemplification of it in the Epistles, 
where it was to be expected. Why," it may be asked, 
"are not the Apostles continually urging their converts 
to rid themselves of sin after Baptism, as best they can, 
by penance, confession, absolution, satisfaction .'' Again, 
why are Christ's ministers nowhere called Priests.? or, at 
most, in one or two obscure passages (as in Rom. xv. 16).? 
Why is not the Lord's Supper expressly said to be a 
Sacrifice ? why is the Lord's Table called an Altar but 
once or twice (Matt. v. and Heb. xiii.), even granting 
these passages refer to it } why is consecration of the 
elements expressly mentioned only in one passage (i Cor. 
x.) in addition to our Lord's original institution of them.^* 
why is there but once or twice express mention made at 
all of the Holy Eucharist, all through the Apostolic 
Epistles, and what there is said, said chiefly in one 
Epistle ? why is there so little said about Ordination } 
about the appointment of a Succession of Ministers ? 
about the visible Church (as in i Tim. iii. 15).? why but 
one or two passages on the duty of fasting .? " 

1 1 Scripture and the Creed. 

" In short, is not (it may be asked) the state of the 
evidence for all these doctrines just this — a few striking 
texts at most, scattered up and down the inspired Volume, 
or one or two particular passages of one particular Epistle, 
or a number of texts which may mean, but need not 
mean, what they are said by Churchmen to mean, which 
say something looking like what is needed, but with little 
strength and point, inadequately and unsatisfactorily ? 
Why then are we thus to be put off? why is our earnest 
desire of getting at the truth to be trifled with ? is it 
conceivable that, if these doctrines were from God, He 
would not tell us plainly ? why does He make us to 
doubt ? why does 'He keep us in suspense ? ' * — it is im- 
possible He should do so. Let us, then, have none of 
these expedients, these makeshift arguments, this patch- 
work system, these surmises and conjectures, and here a 
little and there a little, but give us some broad, trust- 
worthy, masterly view of doctrine, give us some plain in- 
telligible interpretation of the sacred Volume, such as will 
approve itself to all educated minds, as being really 
gained from the text, and not from previous notions 
which are merely brought to Scripture, and which seek 
to find a sanction in it. Such a broad comprehensive 
view of Holy Scripture is most assuredly fatal to the 
Church doctrines." "But this (it will be urged) is not all ; 
there are texts in the New Testament actually inconsis- 
tent with the Church system of teaching. For example, 
what can be stronger against the sanctity of particular 
places, nay of any institutions, persons, or rites at all, 
than our Lord's declaration, that 'God is a Spirit, and they 
that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in 
truth '.'' or against the Eucharistic Sacrifice, than St, 
Paul's contrast in Heb, x, between the Jewish sacrifices 

* John X 24 

Difficulties of Sci ipture Proof of Doctrine. 1 1 7 

and the one Christian Atonement ? or can Baptism really 
have the gifts which are attributed to it in the Catholic 
or Church system, considering how St. J^aul says, that all 
rites are done away, and that faith is all in all ? " 

Such is the sort of objection which it is proposed no'A' 
to consider. 


My first answer to it is grounded on the argtimentum 
ad honmiem of which I have already spoken. That is, 
I shall show that, if the objection proves anything, it 
proves too much for the purposes of those who use it ; 
that it leads to conclusions beyond those to which they 
would confine it; and if it tells for them, it tells for those 
whom they would not hesitate to consider heretical or 

Now the argument in question proves too much, first, 
in this way, that it shows that external religion is not 
only not important or necessary, but not allowable. If, 
for instance, when our Saviour said, " Woman, believe 
Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this 
mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. . . 
The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers 
shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth : for the 
Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit, 
and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit 
and in truth,"* — if He means that the external local 
worship of the Jews was so to be abolished that no ex- 
ternal local worship should again be enjoined, that the 
Gospel worship was but mental, stripped of everything 
material or sensible, and offered in that simple spirit and 
truth which exists in heaven, if so, it is plain that all 
external religion is not only not imperative under the 

* John iv. 21 — 24. 

ii8 Scriptm-e and the Creed. 

Gospel, but forbidden. This text, if it avails for any 
thing against Sacraments and Ordinances, avails entirely; 
it cuts them away root and branch. It says, not that 
they are unimportant, but that they are not to be. It 
does not leave them at our option. Any interpretation 
which gives an opening to their existing, gives so far an 
opening to their being important. If the command to 
worship in spirit and truth is consistent with the permis- 
sion to worship through certain rites, it is consistent with 
the duty to worship through them. Why are we to have 
a greater freedom, if I may so speak, than God Himself.^ 
why are zve to choose what rites we please to worship in, 
and not He choose them .'' — as if spirituality consisted, 
not in doing without rites altogether, (a notion which at 
least is intelligible,) but in our forestalling our Lord and 
Master in the choice of them. Let us take the text to 
mean that there shall be no external worship at all, if we 
will (we shall be wrong, but we shall speak fairly and 
intelligibly) ; but, if there may be times, places, ministers, 
ordinances of worship, although the text speaks of wor- 
shipping in spirit and in truth, then, what is there in it to 
negative the notion of God's having chosen those times 
places, ministers, and ordinances, so that if we attempt 
to choose, we shall be committing the very fault of the 
Jews, who were ever setting up golden calves, planting 
groves, or consecrating ministers, without authority from 

And what has been observed of this text, holds good 
of all arguments drawn, whether from the silence of 
Scripture about, or its supposed positive statements 
against, the rites and ordinances of the Church. If 
obscurity of texts, for instance, about the grace of the 
Eucharist, be taken as a proof that no great benefit 
is therein given, it is an argument against there being 

Difficulties in Scripture Proof of Doctrine. 119 

any benefit. On the other hand, when certain passages 
are once interpreted to refer to it, the emphatic language 
used in those passages shows that the benefit is not 
small. We cannot say that the sub"ect is unimportant, 
without saying that it is not mentioned at all. Either 
no gift is given in the Eucharist, or a great gift. If only 
the sixth chapter of St. John, for instance, does allude to 
it, it shows it is not merely an edifying rite, but an awful 
communication beyond words. Again, if the phrase, 
" the communication of the Body of Christ," used by St. 
Paul, means any gift, it means a great one. You may 
say, if you will, that it does not mean any gift at all, 
but means only a representation or figure of the com- 
munication ; this I call explaining away, but still it is 
intelUgible ; but I do not see how, if it is to be taken 
literally as a real coimminication of something, it can be 
other than a communication of His Body. Again, though 
the Lord's Table be but twice called an Altar in Scrip- 
ture, yet, granting that it is meant in those passages, 
it is there spoken of so solemnly, that it matters not 
though it be nowhere else spoken of " We have an Altar, 
whereof they have no right to eat which serve the taber- 
nacle." We do not know of the existence of the Ordi- 
nance except in the knowledge of its importance ; and 
in corroboration and explanation of this matter of fact, 
let it be well observed that St. Paul expressly declares 
that the Jewish rites are not\.o be practised because they 
are not important. 

This is one way in which this argument proves too 
much ; so that they who for the sake of decency or edi- 
fication, or from an imaginative turn of mind, delight in 
Ordinances, yet think they may make them for them- 
selves, in that those ordinances bring no special blessing 
with them, such men contradict the Gospel as plainly as 

1 20 Scriphwe and the Creed. 

those who attribute a mystical virtue to them, — nay more 
so ; for if any truth is clear, it is, that such ordinances 
as are without virtue are abolished by the Gospel, this 
being St. Paul's very argument against the use of the 
Jewish rites. 


Now as to the other point of view in which the argu- 
ment in question proves too much for the purpose of 
those who use it : — If it be a good argument against the 
truth of the Apostolical Succession and similar doctrines, 
that so little is said about them in Scripture, this is quite 
as good an argument against nearly all the doctrines 
which are held by any one who is called a Christian in 
any sense of the word ; as a few instances will show. 

(i.) First, as to Ordinances and Precepts. There is 
not a single text in the Bible enjoining infant baptism : 
the Scripture warrant on which we baptize infants con- 
sists of inferences carefully made from various texts. 
How is it that St. Paul does not in his Epistles remind 
parents of so great a duty, if it is a duty .-* 

Again, there is not a single text telling us to keep 
holy the first day of the week, and that instead of the 
seventh. God hallowed the seventh day, yet we now 
observe the first. Why do we do this .-• Our Scripture 
warrant for doing so is such as this : " since the Apostles 
met on the first day of the week, therefore the first day 
is to be hallowed ; and since St. Paul says the Sabbath 
is abolished, therefore the seventh day (which is the 
Sabbath) is not to be hallowed : " — these are true in- 
ferences, but very indirect surely. The duty is not on 
the surface of Scripture. We might infer, — though incor- 
rectly, still we might infer, — that St. Paul meant that the 
command in the second chapter of Genesis was repealed, 

Difficulties in Scripture P?^oo/ of Doctrine. 12 j 

and that now there is no sacred day at all in the seven, 
though meetings for prayer on Sunday are right and 
proper. There is nothing on the surface of Scripture to 
prove that the sacredness conferred in the beginning on 
the seventh day now by transference attaches to the first. 
Again, there is scarcely a text enjoining our going 
to Church for joint worship. St. Paul happens in one 
place of his Epistle to the Hebrews, to warn us against 
forgetting to assemble together for prayer. Our Saviour 
says that where two or three are gathered together, He 
is in the midst of them ; yet this alludes in the first in- 
stance not to public worship, but to Church Councils 
and censures, quite a distinct subject. And in the Acts 
and Epistles we meet with instances or precepts in 
favour of joint worship; yet there is nothing express to 
show that it is necessaiy for all times, — nothing more 
express than there is to show that in i Cor. w'n. St. Paul 
meant that an unmarried state is better at all times, — 
nothing which does not need collecting and inferring 
with minute carefulness from Scripture. The first disci- 
ples did pray together, and so in like manner the first 
disciples did not marry. St Paul tells those who were 
in a state of distress to pray together so much the more 
as they see the day approaching — and he says that celi- 
bacy is " good for tlie present distress!' The same re- 
marks might be applied to the question of community 
of goods. On the other hand, our Lord did not use 
social prayer : even when with His disciples He prayed 
by Himself; and His directions in Matt. vi. ^}ao\\t private 
prayer, with the silence which He observes ^ho\xt picblic, 
might be as plausibly adduced as an argument against 
public, as the same kind of silence in Scripture concerning 
turning to the east, or making the sign of the Cross, or 
concerning commemorations for the dead in Christ 

122 Scriplicre and the Creed. 

accompanied with its warnings against formality and 
ceremonial abuses, is now commonly urged as an argu- 
ment against these latter usages. 

Again: — there is no text in the New Testament which 
enjoins us to "establish" Religion (as the phrase is), or 
to make it national, and to give the Church certain 
honour and power ; whereas our Lord's words, "My 
kingdom is not of this world " (John xviii. 36), may be 
interpreted to discountenance such a proceeding. We 
consider that it is right to establish the Church on the 
ground of mere deductions, though of course true ones, 
from the sacred text ; such as St, Paul's using his rights 
as a Roman citizen. 

There is no text which allows us to take oaths. The 
words of our Lord and St. James look plainly the other 
way. Why then do we take them .'' We infer that it is 
allowable to do so, from finding that St. Paul uses such 
expressions as "I call God for a record upon my soul" — 
" The things which I write unto you, behold, before God, 
I He not " (2 Cor. i. 23; Gal. i. 20) ; these we argue, and 
rightly, are equivalent to an oath, and a precedent for us. 

Again, considering God has said, " Whoso sheddeth 
man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed," it seems 
a very singular power which we give to the Civil Magis- 
trate to take away life. It ought to rest, one might sup- 
pose, on some very clear permission given in Scripture. 
Now, on what does it rtst ? on one or two words of 
an Apostle casually introduced into Scripture, as far as 
anything is casual, — on St. Paul's saying in a paren- 
thesis, " he (the magistrate) beareth not the sword in 
vain ; " and he is speaking of a JieatJien magistrate, not 
of Christian. 

Once more: — On how many texts does the prohibition 
of polygamy depend, if we set about counting them ? 

Difficulties in Scripture Proof of Doctrine. 123 

(2.) So much for ordinances and practices : next, con- 
sider how Doctrine will stand, if the said rule of interpre- 
tation is to hold. 

If the Eucharist is never distinctly called a Sacrifice, 
or Christian Ministers never called Priests, still, let me 
ask (as I have already done), is the Holy Ghost ever 
expressly called God in Scripture? Nowhere; we 
infer it from what is said then ; we compare parallel 

If the words Altar, Absolution, or Succession, are not 
in Scripture (supposing it), neither is the word Trinity. 

Again : how do we know that the New Testament is 
inspired .'' does it anywhere declare this of itself.'' no- 
where ; hozv, then, do we know it .-' we infer it from the cir- 
cumstance that the very office of the Apostles who wrote 
it was to publish the Christian Revelation, and from the 
Old Testament being said by St. Paul to be inspired. 

Again : whence do Protestants derive their common 
notion, that every one may gain his knowledge of revealed 
truth from Scripture for himself } 

Again : consider whether the doctrine of the Atone- 
ment may not be explained away by those who explain 
away the doctrine of the Eucharist : if the expressions 
used concerning the latter are merely figurative, so may 
be those used of the former. 

Again : on how many texts does the doctrine of Origi- 
nal Sin rest, that is, the doctrine that we are individually 
born under God's displeasure, in consequence of the sin 
of Adam .-• on one or two. 

Again : how do we prove the doctrine of justification 
by faith only ? it is nowhere declared in Scripture. St. 
Paul does but speak of justification by faith, not by faith 
only, and St. James actually denies that it is by faith 
only. Yet we think right to infer, that there is a correct 

1 24 Scripture and tJic Creed. 

sense in which it is by faith only ; though an Apostle 
has in so many words said just the contrary. Is any of 
the special Church doctrines about the power of Abso- 
lution, the Christian Priesthood, or the danger of sin after 
Baptism, so disadvantageously circumstanced in point of 
evidence as this, " articulus," as Luther called it, "stantis 
ut cadentis ecclesiae "? 

On the whole, then, I ask, on how many special or 
palmary texts do any of the doctrines or rites which we 
hold depend ? what doctrines or rites would be left to us, 
if we demanded the clearest and fullest evidence, before 
we believed anything ? what would the Gospel consist 
of? would there be any Revelation at all left ? Some all- 
important doctrines indeed at first sight certainly would 
remain in the New Testament, such as the divinity of 
Christ, the unity of God, the supremacy of divine grace, 
our election in Christ, the resurrection of the body, and 
eternal life or death to the righteous or sinners ; but little 
besides. Shall we give up the divinity of the Holy Ghost, 
original sin, the Atonement, the inspiration of the New 
Testament, united worship, the Sacraments, and Infant 
Baptism ? Let us do so. Well : — I will venture to say, 
that then we shall go on to find difficulties as regards 
those other doctrines, as the divinity of Christ, which 
at first sight seem to be in Scripture certainly ; they are 
only more clearly there than the others, not so clearly 
stated as to be secured from specious objections. We 
shall have difficulties about the meaning of the word 
" everlasting," as applied to punishment, about the com- 
patibility of divine grace with free-will, about the possi- 
bility of the resurrection of the body, and about the sense 
in which Christ is God. The inquirer who rejects a doc- 
trine which has but one text in its favour, on the ground 
that if it were important it would have more, may, even 

Difficulties in Scripture Proof of Doct^'ine, 125 

in a case when a doctrine is mentioned often, always 
find occasion to wonder that still it is not mentioned 
in this or that particular place, where it might be ex- 
pected. When he is pressed with such a text as St. 
Thomas's confession, " My Lord and my God," he will 
ask. But why did our Lord say but seven days before to 
St. Mary Magdalen, " I ascend to My Father and your 
Father, to My God and your God " ? When he is pressed 
with St. Peter's confession, " Lord, Thou knowest all 
things, — Thou knowest that I love Thee," he will ask, 
" But why does Christ say of Himself, that He does not 
know the last day, but only the Father } " Indeed, I may 
truly say, the more arguments there are for a certain 
doctrine found in Scripture, the more objections will 
be found against it; so that, on the whole, after all, the 
Scripture evidence, even for the divinity of Christ, 
will be found in fact as little able to satisfy the cautious 
reason er, when he is fairly engaged to discuss it, as that 
for Infant Baptism, great as is the difference of strength 
in the evidence for the one and for the other. And the 
history of these last centuries bears out this remark. 

I conclude, then, that there must be some fault some- 
where in this specious argument ; that it does not follow 
that a doctrine or rite is not divine, because it is not 
directly stated in Scripture; that there are somewise and 
unknown reasons for doctrines being, as we find them, 
not clearly stated there. To be sure, I might take the 
other alternative, and run the full length of scepticism, 
and openly deny that any doctrine or duty, whatever it 
is, is divine, which is not stated in Scripture beyond all 
contradiction and objection. But for many reasons I can- 
not get myself to do this, as I shall proceed to show. 



The Difficulties of Latitudinarianisvi, 

NO one, I think, will seriously maintain, that any 
other definite religious system is laid down in 
Scripture at all more clearly than the Church system. 
It may be maintained, and speciously, that the Church 
system is not there, or that this or that particular doc- 
trine of some other system seems to be there more 
plainly than the corresponding Church doctrine ; but 
that Presbyterianism as a whole, or Independency as a 
whole, or the reUgion of Lutherans, Baptists, Wesleyans, 
or Friends, as a whole, is more clearly laid down in 
Scripture, and with fewer texts looking the other way — 
that any of these denominations has less difficulties to 
encounter than the Creed of the Church, — this I do not 
think can successfully be maintained. The arguments 
which are used to prove that the Church system is not 
in Scripture, may as cogently be used to prove that no 
system is in Scripture. If silence in Scripture, or ap- 
parent contrariety, is an argument against the Church 
system, it is an argument against system altogether. 
No system is on the surface of Scripture ; none, but 
has at times to account for the silence or the apparent 
opposition of Scripture as to particular portions of it. 


This, then, is the choice of conclusions to which we are 
brought : — eitiier Christianity contains no definite mes- 

The Difficulties of Latiiudinarianihvi. 127 

sage, creed, revelation, system, or whatever other name 
we give it, nothing which can be made the subject of 
behef at all ; or, secondly, though there really is a true 
creed or system in Scripture, still it is not on the surface 
of Scripture, but is found latent and implicit within it, 
and to be maintained only by indirect arguments, by 
comparison of texts, by inferences from what is said 
plainly, and by overcoming or resigning oneself to 
difficulties ; — or again, though there is a true creed or 
system revealed, it is not revealed in Scripture, but must 
be learned collaterally from other sourceii I wish in- 
quirers to consider this statement steadily. I do not see 
that it can be disputed ; and if not, it is very important. 
I repeat it ; we have a choice of three conclusions. 
Either there is no definite religious information given us 
by Christianity at all, or it is given in Scripture in an 
indirect and covert way, or it is indeed given, but not in 
Scripture, The first is the Latitudinarian view which 
has gained ground in this day ; the second is our own 
Anglican ground ; the third is the ground of the Roman 
Church. If then we will not content ourselves with 
merely probable, or (what we may be disposed to call) 
insufficient proofs of matters of faith and worship, we 
must become either utter Latitudinarians or Roman 
Catholics. If we will not Submit to the notion of the 
doctrines of the Gospel being hidden under the text of 
Scripture from the view of the chance reader, we must 
submit to believe either that there are no doctrines at all 
in Christianity, or that the doctrines are not in Scripture, 
but elsewhere, as in Tradition. I know of no other 

Many men, indeed, will attempt to find a fourth way, 
thus : they would fain discern one or two doctrines in 
Scripture clearly, and no more ; 01 some generalized 

128 Scripture and the Creed. 

form, yet not so much as a body of doctrine of any 
character. They consider that a certain message, consist- 
ing of one or two great and simple statements, makes 
up the whole of the Gospel, and that these are plainly in 
Scripture ; accordingly, that he who holds and acts upon 
these is a Christian, and ought to be acknowledged by 
all to be such, for in holding these he holds all that is 
necessary. These statements they sometimes call the 
essentials, the peculiar doctrines, the vital doctrines, 
the leading idea, the great truths of the Gospel, — and 
all this sounds very well ; but when we come to realize 
what is abstractedly so plausible, we are met by this 
insurmountable difficulty, that no great number of per- 
sons agree together what are these great truths, simple 
views, leading ideas, or peculiar doctrines of the Gospel. 
Some say that the doctrine of the Atonement is the 
leading idea ; some, the doctrine of spiritual influence ; 
some, that both together are the peculiar doctrines ; 
some, that love is all in all; some, that the acknowledg- 
ment that Jesus is the Christ; and some, that the resur- 
rection from the dead ; some, that the announcement of 
the soul's immortality, is after all the essence of the 
Gospel, and all that need be believed. 

Moreover, since, as all parties must confess, the Catho- 
lic doctrine of the Trinity is not brought out in form 
upon the surface of Scripture, it follows either that it is 
not included in the leading idea, or that the leading idea 
is not on the surface. And if the doctrine of the Trinity 
is not to be accounted as one of the leading or funda- 
mental truths of Revelation, the keystone of the mys- 
terious system is lost ; and, that being lost, mystery will, 
in matter of fact, be found gradually to fade away from 
the Creed altogether ; that is, the notion of Christianity 
as being a revelation of new truths, will gradually fade 

Difficulties of Latiiudinarianisni. 129 

away, and the Gospel in course of time will be considered 
scarcely more than the republication of the law of na- 
ture. This, I think, will be found to be the historical 
progress and issue of this line of thought. It is but one 
shape of Latitudinarianism. If we will have it so, that 
the doctrines of Scripture should be on the surface of 
Scripture, though I may have my very definite notion 
what doctrines are on the surface, and you yours, and 
another his, yet you and he and I, though each of us in 
appearance competent to judge, though all serious men, 
earnest, and possessed of due attainments, nevertheless 
will not agree together what those doctrines are ; so that, 
practically, what I have said will come about in the end, 
— that (if we are candid) we shall be forced to allow, 
that there is no system, no creed, no doctrine at all lucidly 
and explicitly set forth in Scripture ; and thus we are 
brought to the result, which I have already pointed out : 
if we will not seek for revealed truth under the surface 
of Scripture, we must either give up seeking for it, or 
must seek for it in Tradition, — we must become Latitu- 
dinarians or Roman Catholics. 


Now of these alternatives, the Roman idea or the Lati- 
tudinarian, the latter I do really conceive to be quite out 
of the question with every serious mind. The Latitudin- 
arian doctrine is this: that every man's view of Revealed 
Religion is acceptable to God, if he acts up to it ; that 
no one view is in itself better than another, or at least 
that we cannot tell which is the better. All that we 
have to do then is to act consistently with what we hold, 
and to value others if they act consistently with what 
they hold ; that to be consistent constitutes sincerity ; 
that where there is this evident sincerity, it is no matter 


i 30 Scripture and the Creed. 

whether we profess to be Romanists or Protestants, 
Catholics or Heretics, Calvinists or Arminians, Angli- 
cans or Dissenters, High Churchmen or Puritans, Episco- 
palians or Independents, Wesleyans or Socinians. Such 
seems to be the doctrine of Latitude. Now, I can 
conceive such a view of the subject to be maintainable, 
supposing God had given us no Revelation, — though even 
then, (by the way,) and were we even left to the light of 
nature, beUef in His existence and moral government 
would, one should think, at least be necessary to please 
Him. " He that cometh to God must beHeve that He 
is, and that He is a rewarder of them which diHgently 
seek Him." * But however, not to press this point, one 
may conceive that, before God had actually spoken to 
us. He might accept as sufficient a sincere acting on 
religious opinions of whatever kind ; but that, after a 
Revelation is given, there is nothing to believe, nothing 
(to use an expressive Scripture word) to "hold," to "hold 
fast," that a message comes from God, and contains no 
subject-matter, or that, containing it (as it must do), it is 
not important to be received, and is not capable of being 
learned by any one who takes the proper means of learn- 
ing it, that there is in it nothing such, that we may de- 
pend on our impression of it to be the true impression, 
may feel we have really gained something, and continue 
in one and one only opinion about it, — all this is so ex- 
travagant, that I really cannot enter into the state of mind 
•of a person maintaining it. I think he is not aware 
what he is saying. Why should God speak, unless He 
meant to say something ? Why should He say it, unless 
He meant us to hear? Why should we be made to hear 
if it mattered not whether we accepted it or no .-' What 
the doctrine is, is another and distinct question ; but 
* Hcb. xi. 6. 

Dijficulties of Latitudinaria7iism, 131 

that there is some doctrine revealed, and that it is re- 
vealed in order that it may be received, and that it 
really is revealed, (I mean, not so hidden that it is a 
mere matter of opinion, a mere chance, what is true and 
what is not, and that there are a number of opposite 
modes of holding it, one as good as another, but) that it 
is plain in one and the same substantial sense to all who 
sincerely and suitably seek for it, and that God is better 
pleased when we hold it than when we do not, — all this 
seems a truism. Again, where it is given us, whether 
entirely in Scripture, or partly elsewhere, — this too is 
another and secondary question ; though, if some doc- 
trine or other is really given, that it must be given some- 
where, is a proposition which cannot be denied, with- 
out some eccentricity or confusion of mind, or without 
some defect in seriousness and candour. I say, first, if 
there be a Revelation, there must be some essential 
doctrine proposed by it to our faith ; and, if so, the 
question at once follows, what is it, and how much, 
and tvhere ? and we are forthwith involved in researches 
of some kind or other, somewhere or other ; for the 
doctrine is not written on the sun. 

For reasons such as the above, I really cannot con- 
ceive a serious man, who realized what he was speaking 
about, to be a consistent Latitudinarian. He always will 
reserve from the general proscription his own favourite 
doctrine, whatever it is ; and then holding it, he will be 
at once forced into the difficulty, which is ours also, but 
which he would fain make ours only and not his, that 
of stating clearly what this doctrine of his is, and what 
are those grounds of it, such, as to enable him to take in 
just so much of dogmatic teaching as he does take in, 
and nothing more, to hold so much firmly, and to treat 
all the rest as comparatively unimportant. 

1 3 - Scripture and the Creed. 

Revelation implies a something revealed, and what is 
revealed is imperative on our faith, becatise it is revealed. 
Revelation implies imperativeness ; it Hmits in its very 
notion our Hberty of thought, because it limits our liberty 
of error, for error is one kind of thought. 

If then I am not allowed to hold that Scripture, however 
implicit in its teaching, is really dogmatic, I shall be led 
to be, not a Latitudinarian, but a Roman Catholic. You 
tell me, that " no creed is to be found in Scripture, — 
therefore, Christianity has no creed." Indeed ! supposing 
the fact to be as stated (which I do not grant, but sup- 
posing it), is this the necessary conclusion } No : there 
is another. Such an inference indeed as the above is a 
clever controversial way of settling the matter ; it is 
the sort of answer which in the schools of disputation or 
the courts of law may find a place, where men are not 
in earnest ; but it is an answer without a heart. It is 
an excuse for indolence, love of quiet, or worldliness. 
There is another answer. I do not adopt it, I do not 
see I am driven to it, because I do not allow the pre- 
misses from which the Latitudinarian argument starts. I 
do not allow that there is no creed at all contained in 
Scripture, though I grant it is not on the surface. But 
if there be no divine message, gospel, or creed pro- 
ducible from Scripture, this would not lead me one inch 
toward deciding that there was none at all anywhere. 
No ; it v/ould make me look out of Scripture for it, that 
is all. If there is a Revelation, there must be a doctrine; 
both our reason and our hearts tell us so. If it is not 
in Scripture, it is somewhere else ; it is to be sought 
elsewhere. Should the fact so turn out, (which I deny,) 
that Scripture is so obscure that nothing can be made 
of it, even when the true interpretation is elsewhere 
given, so obscure that every person will have his own 

Difficulties of Latihidinarianism. 133 

interpretation of it, and no two alike, this would drive 
me, not into Latitudinarianism, but into Romanism. 
Yes, and it will drive the multitude of men. It is far 
more certain that Revelation must contain a message, 
than that that message must be in Scripture. It is a 
less violence to one's feelings to say that part of it is 
revealed elsewhere, than to say that nothing is revealed 
anywhere. There is an overpowering antecedent im- 
probability in Almighty God's announcing that He has 
revealed something, and then revealing nothing ; there 
is no antecedent improbability in His revealing it else- 
where than in an inspired volume. 

And, I say, the mass of mankind will feel it so. It 
is very well for educated persons, at their ease, with 
few cares, or in the joyous time of youth, to argue and 
speculate about the impalpableness and versatility of 
the divine message, its chameleon-like changeableness, its 
adaptation to each fresh mind it meets ; but when men 
are conscious of sin, are sorrowful, are weighed down, 
are desponding, they ask for something to lean on, 
something external to themselves. It will not do to 
tell them that whatever they at present hold as true, 
is enough. They want to be assured that what seems 
to them true, is true ; they want something to lean on, 
holier, diviner, more stable than their own minds. They 
have an instinctive feeling that there is an external, eter- 
nal truth which is their only stay ; and it mocks them, 
after being told of a Revelation, to be assured, next, that 
that Revelation tells us nothing certain, nothing which we 
do not know without it, nothing distinct from our own 
impressions concerning it, whatever they may be, — 
nothing such, as to exist independently of that shape 
and colour into which our own individual mind happens 
to throw it. Therefore, practically, those who argue for 

134 Scripture and the Creed. 

the vague character of the Scripture informations, and 
the harmlessness of all sorts of religious opinions, do not 
tend to advance Latitudinarianism one step among the 
many, — they advance Romanism. That truth, which 
men are told they cannot find in Scripture, they will 
seek out of Scripture. They will never believe, they 
will never be content with, a religion without doctrines. 
The common sense of mankind decides against it. Re- 
ligion cannot but be dogmatic ; it ever has been. All 
religions have had doctrines ; all have professed to carry 
with them benefits which could be enjoyed only on con- 
dition of believing the word of a supernatural informant, 
that is, of embracing some doctrines or other. 

And it is a mere idle sophistical theory, to suppose it 
can be otherwise. Destroy religion, make men give it up, 
if you can ; but while it exists, it will profess an insight 
into the next world, it will profess important information 
about the next world, it will have points of faith, it will 
have dogmatism, it will have anathemas. Christianity, 
therefore, ever will be looked on, by the multitude, what 
it really is, as a rule of faith as well as of conduct. Men 
may be Presbyterians, or Baptists, or Lutherans, or Cal- 
vinists, or Wesleyans ; but something or other they will 
be ; a creed, a creed necessary to salvation, they will 
have ; a creed either in Scripture or out of it ; and if in 
Scripture, I say, it must be, from the nature of the case, 
only indirectly gained from Scripture. Latitudinarianism, 
then, is out of the question ; and you have your choice, 
to be content with inferences from texts in Scripture, or 
with tradition out of Scripture. You cannot get beyond 
this ; either you must take up with us, (or with some 
system not at all better off, whether Presbyterianism 
or Independency, or the like,) or you must go to Rome. 
Which will you choose .-• You may not like us ; you 

Difficulties of Latitudinarianisni. 135 

may be impatient and impetuous ; you may go forward, 
but back you cannot go. 

But, further, it can scarcely be denied that Scripture, 
if it does not furnish, at least speaks of, refers to, takes 
for granted, sanctions, some certain doctrine or message, 
as is to be believed in order to salvation ; and which, 
accordingly, if not found in Scripture, must be sought 
for out of it. It says, " He who believeth shall be saved, 
and he who beheveth not shall be damned ;" it speaks 
of " the doctrine of Christ," of " keeping the faith," of 
" the faith once delivered to the saints," and of " deliver- 
ing that which has been received," recounting at the 
same time some of the articles of the Apostles' Creed. 
And the case is the same as regards discipline ; rules of 
worship and order, whether furnished or not, are at least 
alluded to again and again, under the title of "traditions." 
Revelation then will be inconsistent with itself, unless it 
has provided some Creed somewhere. For it declares in 
Scripture that it has given us a Creed ; therefore some 
creed exists somewhere, whether in Scripture or out of it. 

Nor is this all ; from the earUest times, so early that 
there is no assignable origin to it short of the Apostles, 
one definite system has in fact existed in the Church 
both of faith and worship, and that in countries far dis- 
joined from one another, and without any appearance 
(as far as we can detect) of the existence of any other 
system anywhere ; and (what is very remarkable) a sys- 
tem such, that the portion in it which relates to matters 
of faith (or its theology), accurately fits in and corre- 
sponds to that which relates to matters of worship and 
order (or its ceremonial) ; as if they were evidently parts 
of a whole, and not an accidental assemblage of rites on 

136 'Scripture and the Creed. 

the one hand, and doctrines on the other ; — a system 
moreover which has existed ever since, and exists at the 
present day, and in its great features, as in other branchef 
of the Church, so among ourselves; — a system moreover 
which at least professes to be quite consistent with, and 
to appeal and defer to, the written word, and thus in all re- 
spects accurately answers to that to which Scripture seems 
to be referring in the notices above cited. Now, is it pos- 
sible, with this very significant phenomenon standing in 
the threshold of Christian history, that any sensible man 
can be of opinion that one creed or worship is as good 
as another ? St. Paul speaks of one faith, one baptism, 
one body ; this in itself is a very intelligible hint of his 
own view of Christianity ; but as if to save his words 
from misinterpretation, here in history is at once a sort 
of realization of what he seems to have before his mind. 
Under these circumstances, what excuse have we for not 
recognizing, in this system of doctrine and worship exist- 
ing in history, that very system to which the Apostles 
refer in Scripture .-* They evidently did not in Scripture 
say out all they had to say ; this is evident on the face 
of Scripture, evident from what they do say. St. Paul 
says, " TJie rest will I set in order when I come." St. 
John, " I had many things to write, but I will not with 
ink and pen write unto thee ; but I trust I shall shortly 
see thee, and we shall speak face to face." This he says 
in two Epistles. Now supposing, to take the case of 
profane history, a collection of letters were extant 
written by the founders or remodellers of the Platonic 
or Stoic philosophy, and supposing those masters referred 
in them to their philosophy, and treated of it in some of 
its parts, yet without drawing it out in an orderly way, 
and then secondly, supposing there did exist other and 
more direct historical sources of various kinds, from 

Difficulties of Laiitudinarianism. 1 3 7 

which a distinct systematic account of their philosophy 
might be drawn, that is, one account of it and but one 
from many witnesses, should we not take it for granted 
that this was their system, that system of which their 
letters spoke ? Should not we accept that system con- 
veyed to us by history with (I will not say merely 
an antecedent disposition in its favour, but with) a 
confidence and certainty that it was their system ; and 
if we found discrepancies between it and their letters, 
should we at once cast it aside as spurious, or should we 
not rather try to reconcile the two together, and suspect 
that we were in fault, that we had made some mistake ; 
and even if after all we could not reconcile all parts 
(supposing it), should we not leave the discrepancies as 
difficulties, and believe in the system notwithstanding ? 
The Apostles refer to a large existing fact, their system, 
— " the whole counsel of God " ; history informs us of a 
system, as far as we can tell, contemporaneous with, and 
claiming to be theirs ; — what other claimant is there ? 

Whether, then, the system of doctrine and worship, 
referred to but not brought out in Scripture, be really 
latent there or not, whether our hypothesis be right or 
the Roman view, at any rate a system there is ; we see 
it, we have it external to Scripture. There it stands, how- 
ever we may determine the further question, whether it is 
also in Scripture. Whether we adopt our Sixth Article 
or not, we cannot obliterate the fact that a system does 
substantially exist in history ; all the proofs you may 
bring of the obscurities or of the unsystematic character 
of Scripture cannot touch this independent fact ; were 
Scripture lost to us, that fact, an existing Catholic 
system, will remain. You have your choice to say that 
Scripture does or does not agree with it. If you think 
it actually disagrees with Scripture, then you have your 

138 Scripture and the Creed. 

choice between concluding either that you are mistaken 
in so thinking, or that, although this system comes to 
us as it does, on the same evidence with Scripture, yet 
it is not divine, while Scripture is. If, however, you 
consider that it merely teaches things additional to 
Scripture, then you have no excuse for not admitting 
it in addition to Scripture, And if it teaches things 
but indirectly taught in Scripture, then you must admit 
it as an interpreter or comment upon Scripture. But, 
whether you say it is an accordant or a discordant 
witness, whether the supplement, or complement, or in- 
terpreter of Scripture, there it stands, that consistent 
harmonious system of faith and worship, as in the 
beginning ; and, if history be allowed any weight in 
the discussion, it is an effectual refutation of Latitudi- 
narianism. It is a fact concurring with the common 
sense of mankind and with their wants. Men want a 
dogmatic system ; and behold, in the beginning of 
Christianity, and from the beginning to this day, there 
it stands. This is so remarkable a coincidence that it 
will always practically weigh against Latitudinarian views. 
Infidelity is more intelligible, more honest than they are. 
Nor does it avail to say, that there were additions 
made to it in the course of years, or that the feel- 
ing of a want may have given rise to it ; for what was 
added after, whatever it was, could not create that to 
which it was added ; and I say that first of all, before 
there was a time for the harmonious uniform expansion 
of a system, for the experience and supply of human 
wants, for the inroads of innovation, and the growth of 
corruption, and with all fair allowance for differences of 
opinions as to how much is primitive, or when and where 
this or that particular fact is witnessed, or what interpre- 
tation is to be given to particular passages in historical 

Difficulties of Latitudinarianism. 139 

documents, — from the first a system exists. And we 
have no right to refuse it, merely on the plea that we do 
not see all the parts of it in Scripture, or that we think 
some parts of it to be inconsistent with Scripture ; for 
even though some parts were not there, this would not 
disprove its truth ; and even though some parts seemed 
contrary to what is there, this appearance might after 
all be caused simply by our own incompetency to judge 
of Scripture. 


But perhaps it may here be urged, that I have proved 
too much ; that is, it may be asked " If a system of 
doctrine is so necessary to Revelation, and appears at 
once in the writings of the Apostles' disciples, as in the 
Epistles of St. Ignatius, how is it that it is not in the 
writings of the Apostles themselves t how does it happen 
that it does appear in the short Epistles of Ignatius, and 
does not in the longer Epistles of St. Paul .'' so that the 
tendency of the foregoing argument is to disparage the 
Apostles' teaching, as showing that it is not adapted, and 
Ignatius's is adapted, to our wants." But the answer to 
this is simple : for though the Apostles' writings do not 
on their surface set forth the Catholic system of doctrine, 
they certainly do contain (as I have said) a recognition 
of its existence, and of its principle, and of portions of it. 
If, then, in spite of this, there is no Apostolic system of 
faith and worship, all we shall have proved by our argu- 
ment is, that the Apostles are inconsistent with them- 
selves ; that they recognize the need of such a system, 
and do not provide one. How it is they do not draw 
out a system, while they nevertheless both recognize 
its principle and witness its existence, has often been 
discussed, and perhaps I may say something incidentally 

I40 Scripture and the Creed. 

on the subject hereafter. Here, I do but observe, that 
on the one side of the question we have the human heart 
expecting, Scripture sanctioning, history providing, — a 
coincidence of three witnesses ; and on the otiier side 
only this, Scripture not actually providing by itself in 
form and fulness what it sanctions. 

Lastly, I would observe, that much as Christians have 
differed in these latter or in former ages, as to what is 
the true faith and what the true worship and discipline 
of Christ, yet one and all have held that Christianity is 
dogmatic and social, that creeds and forms are not to be 
dispensed with. There has been an uninterrupted main- 
tenance of this belief from the beginning of Christianity 
down to this day, with exceptions so partial or so ephe- 
meral as not to deserve notice. I conclude, then, either 
that the notion of forms and creeds, and of unity by 
means of them, is so natural to the human mind as to 
be spontaneously produced and cherished in every age ; 
or that there has been a strong external reason for its 
having been so cherished, whether in authority, or in 
argumentative proof, or in the force of tradition. In 
whatever way we take it, it is a striking evidence in 
favour of dogmatic religion, and against that unreal 
form, or rather that mere dream of religion, which pre- 
tends that modes of thinking and social conduct are all 
one and all the same in the eyes of God, supposing each 
of us to be sincere in his own. 

Dismissing, then, Latitudinarianism once for all, as 
untenable, and taking for granted that there is a system 
of religion revealed in the Gospel, I come, as I have 
already stated several times, to one or other of two con- 
clusions : either that it is not all in Scripture, but part 
in tradition only, as the Romanists say, — or, as the 
EngHsh Church says, that though it is in tradition, yet 

Difficulties of Latitudinarianis7n. 141 

it can also be gathered from the communications of 
Scripture. As to the nondescript system of religion 
now in fashion, viz., that nothing is to be believed but 
what is clearly stated in Scripture, that all its own 
doctrines are clearly there and none other, and that, as 
to history, it is no matter what history says and what it 
does not say, except so far as it must of course be used 
to prove the canonicity of Scripture, this will come 
before us again and again in the following Lectures, 
Suffice that it has all the external extravagance of 
Latitudinarianism without any gain in consistency. It 
is less consistent because it is morally better : Latitudi- 
narianism is less inconsistent because it is intellectually 
deeper. Both, however, are mere theories in theology, 
and ought to be discarded by serious men. We must 
give up our ideal notions, and resign ourselves to facts. 
We must take things as we find them, as God has given 
them. We did not make them, we cannot alter them, 
though we are sometimes tempted to think it very hard 
that we cannot. W^e must submit to them, instead of 
quarrelling with them. We must submit to the indirect- 
ness of Scripture,* unless we think it wiser and better to 
become Romanists : and we must employ our minds 
rather (if so be) in accounting for the fact, than in ex- 
cepting against it. 

* [It may require explanation, why it was that the author, in this argu- 
ment against Latitudinarianism, should so earnestly insist on the implicit 
teaching of Scripture, with history for its explicit interpreter, instead o( 
boldly saying that, not Scripture, but history, is our informant in Christian 
doctrine. But he was hampered by his belief in the Protestant tenet that 
all revealed doctrine is in Scripture, and, since he could not maintain that 
it was on the surface of the inspired ^Vord, he was forced upon the (not 
untrue, but unpractical) theory of the implicit sense, history developing it. 
Vide infr. p. 149-] 


On the Structure of the Bibky antecedently 


ENOUGH perhaps has now been said by way of 
opening the subject before us. The state of the 
case I conceive to be as I have said. The structure of 
Scripture is such, so irregular and immethodical, that 
either we must hold that the Gospel doctrine or message 
is not contained in Scripture (and if so, either that there 
is no message at all given, or that it is given elsewhere, 
external to Scripture), or, as the alternative, we must hold 
that it is but indirectly and covertly recorded there, that 
is, under the surface. Moreover, since the great bulk of 
professing Christians in this country, whatever their 
particular denomination may be, do consider, agreeably 
with the English Church, that there are doctrines re- 
vealed (though they differ among themselves as to what), 
and next that they are in Scripture, they must undergo, 
and resign themselves to an inconvenience which cer- 
tainly does attach to our Church, and, as they often 
suppose, to it alone, that of having to infer from Scrip- 
ture, to prove circuitously, to argue at disadvantage, to 
leave difficulties unsolved, and to appear to the world 
weak or fanciful reasoners. They must leave off criticising 
our proof of our doctrines, because they are not stronger 
in respect to proof themselves. No matter whether they 

Structure of the Bible, antecedently considered. 143 

are Lutherans or Calvlnists, Wesleyans or Independents, 
they have to wind their way through obstacles, in and 
out, avoiding some things and catching at others, like 
men making their way in a wood, or over broken 

If they believe in consubstantiation with Luther, or 
in the absolute predestination of individuals, with Calvin, 
they have very few texts to produce which, in argument, 
will appear even specious. And still more plainly have 
these religionists strong texts actually against them, 
whatever be their sect or persuasion. If they be Lu- 
therans, they have to encounter St. James's declaration, 
that "by works a man is justified, and not by faith 
only ; " * if Calvinists, God's solemn declaration, that 
" as He liveth. He willeth not the death of a sinner, but 
rather that he should live ; " if a Wesleyan, St. Paul's 
precept to " obey them that have the rule over you, 
and submit yourselves ; " f if Independents, the same 
Apostle's declaration concerning the Church's being "the 
pillar and ground of the Truth ; " if Zuinglians, they 
have to explain how Baptism is not really and in fact 
connected with regeneration, considering it is always 
connected with it in Scripture ; if Friends, why they 
allow women to speak in their assemblies, contrary to 
St. Paul's plain prohibition ; if Erastians, why they for- 
get our Saviour's plain declaration, that His kingdom is 
not of this world ; if maintainers of the ordinary secular 
Christianity, what they make of the woe denounced 
against riches, and the praise bestowed on celibacy. 
Hence, none of these sects and persuasions has any right 
to ask the question of which they are so fond, " Where 
in the Bible are the Church ' doctrines to be found .'' 
Whcrg in Scripture, for instance, is Apostolical Succes- 

• Jivses U^ 24. f Heb. xiil 7. 

144 Scripture and ike C^^ccd. 

sion, or the Christian Priesthood, or the power of Abso- 
lution ? " This is with them a favourite mode of deahng 
with us ; and I m return ask them, Where are we told 
that the Bible contains all that is necessary to salvation ? 
Where are we told that the New Testament is inspired ? 
Where are we told that justification is by faith only ? 
Where are we told that every individual who is elected 
is saved ? Where are we told that we may leave the 
Church, if we think its ministers do not preach the 
Gospel ? or, Where are we told that we may make 
ministers for ourselves ? 

All Protestants, then, in this country, — Churchmen, 
Presbyterians, Baptists, Arminians, Calvinists, Lutherans, 
Friends, Independents, Wesleyans, Unitarians, — and 
whatever other sect claims the Protestant name, all who 
consider the Bible as the one standard of faith, and 
much more if they think it the standard of morals and 
discipHne too, are more or less in this difficulty, — the 
more so, the larger they consider the contents of Reve- 
lation to be, and the less, the scantier they consider them ; 
but they cannot escape from the difficulty altogether, 
except by falHng back into utter scepticism and latitu- 
dinarianism, or, on the other hand, by going on to 
Rome. Nor does it rid them of their difficulties, as I 
have said more than once, to allege, that all points that are 
beyond clear Scripture proof are the mere ftcnharitics 
of each sect ; so that if all Protestants were to agree to 
put out of sight their respective peculiarities, they would 
then have a Creed set forth distinctly, clearly, and 
adequately, in Scripture. For take that single instance, 
which I have referred to in a former Lecture, the doctrine 
of the Holy Trinity. Is this to be considered as a mere 
peculiarity or no } Apparently a peculiarity ; for on the 
one hand it is not held by all Protestants, and next, it 

Structure of the Bible ^ antecedcjttly considered. 145 

is not brought out in form in Scripture. First, the word 
Trinity is not in Scripture. Next I ask, How many of 
the verses of the Athanasian Creed are distinctly set 
down in Scripture ? and further, take particular portions 
of the doctrine, viz., that Christ is co-eternal with the 
Father, that the Holy Ghost is God, or that the Holy 
Ghost proceedeth from the Father and the Son, and 
consider the kind of texts and the modes of using them, 
by which the proof is built up. Yet is there a more 
sacred, a more vital doctrine in the circle of the articles 
of faith than that of the Holy Trinity? Let no one then 
take refuge and comfort in the idea that he will be what 
is commonly called an orthodox Protestant, — I mean, 
that he will be just this and no more; that he will admit 
the doctrine of the Trinity, but not that of the Apostolic 
Succession, — of the Atonement, but not of the Eucharist, 
— of the influences of grace, but not of Baptism. This is 
an impossible position : it is shutting one eye, and look- 
ing with the other. Shut both or open both. Deny 
that there is any necessary doctrine in Scripture, or 
consent to infer indirectly from Scripture what you at 
present disbelieve. 


The whole argument, however, depends of course on 
the certainty of the fact assumed, viz., that Scripture is 
unsystematic and uncertain in its communications to 
the extent to which I have supposed it to be. To this 
point, therefore, I shall, in the Lectures which follow, 
direct attention. Here, however, I shall confine myself 
to a brief argument with a view of showing that under 
the circumstances the fact must be so. I observe, then, 
as follows : — 

in what way inspiration is compatible with that per- 


1.^6 Scripture and the Creed. 

sonal agency on the part of its instruments, which the 
composition of the Bible evidences, we know not ; but if 
anything is certain, it is this, — that, though the Bible is 
inspired, and therefore, in one sense, written by God, yet 
very large portions of it, if not far the greater part of it, 
are written in as free and unconstrained a manner, and 
(apparently) with as little apparent consciousness of a 
supernatural dictation or restraint, on the part of His 
earthly instruments, as if He had had no share in the 
work. As God rules the will, yet the will is free, — as 
He rules the course of the world, yet men conduct it, — 
so He has inspired the Bible, yet men have written it. 
Whatever else is true about it, this is true, that we may 
speak of the history or the mode of its composition, as 
truly as of that of other books ; we may speak of its 
writers having an object in view, being influenced by 
circumstances, being anxious, taking pains, purposely 
omitting or introducing matters, leaving things incom- 
plete, or supplying what others had so left. Though 
the Bible be inspired, it has all such characteristics as 
might attach to a book uninspired, — the characteristics 
of dialect and style, the distinct effects of times and 
places, youth and age, of moral and intellectual character; 
and I insist on this, lest in what I am going to say, I 
seem to forget (what I do not forget), that in spite of its 
human form, it has in it the Spirit and the Mind of God. 
I observe, then, that Scripture is not one book ; it is a 
great number of writings, of various persons, living at 
different times, put together into one, and assuming its 
existing form as if casually and by accident. It is as if 
pu were to seize the papers or correspondence of lead- 
ing men in any school of philosophy or science, which 
were never designed for publication, and bring them out 
in one volume. You would find probably in the collec- 

structure of the Bible ^ aiitecedently considered. 147 

tion so resulting many papers begun and not finished ; 
some parts systematic and didactic, but the greater part 
made up of hints or of notices which assume first prin- 
ciples instead of asserting them, or of discussions upon 
particular points which happened to require their atten- 
tion. I say the doctrines, the first principles, the rules, 
the objects of the school, would be taken for granted, 
alluded to, implied, not directly stated. You would have 
some trouble to get at them ; you would have many re- 
petitions, many hiatuses, many things which looked like 
contradictions ; you would have to work your way 
through heterogeneous materials, and, after your best 
efforts, there would be much hopelessly obscure ; and, 
on the other hand, you might look in vain in such a 
casual collection for some particular opinions which the 
writers were known nevertheless to have held, nay to 
have insisted on. 

Such, I conceive, with limitations presently to be no- 
ticed, is the structure of the Bible. Parts, indeed, are 
more regular than others ; parts of the Pentateuch form a 
regular history. The book of Job is a regular narrative ; 
some Prophecies are regular, one or two Epistles ; but 
even these portions are for the most part incorporated 
in or with writings which are not regular in their form 
or complete ; and we never can be sure beforehand what 
we shall find in them, or what we shall not find. They 
are the writings of men who had already been introduced 
into a knowledge of the unseen world and the society 
of Angels, and who reported what they had seen 
and heard ; and they are full of allusions to a system, 
a course of things, which was ever before their minds, 
which they felt both too awful and too familiar to them 
to be described minutely, which we do not know, and 
which these allusions, such as they are, but partially 

148 Scripture and the Creed. 

disclose to us. Try to make out the history of Rome 
from the extant letters of some of its great politicians, 
and from the fragments of ancient annals, histories, 
laws, inscriptions, and medals, and you will have some- 
thing like the state of the case, viewed antecedently, as 
regards the structure of the Bible, and the task of de- 
ducing the true system of religion from it. 

This being, as I conceive, really the state of the 
case in substance, I own it seems to me, judging ante- 
cedently, very improbable indeed, that it should contain 
the whole of the Revealed Word of God. I own that in 
my own mind, at first sight, I am naturally led to look 
not only there, but elsewhere, for notices of sacred truth ; 
and I consider that they who say that the Bible does 
contain the whole Revelation (as I do say myself), that 
they and I, that we, have what is called the omis pro- 
bandi, the burden and duty of proving the point, on our 
^ide. Till we prove that Scripture does contain the 
whole Revealed Truth, it is natural, from its prima facie 
appearance, to suppose that it does not. Why, for in- 
stance, should a certain number of letters, more or less 
private, written by St. Paul and others to particular 
persons or bodies, contain the whole of what the Holy 
Spirit taught them } We do not look into Scripture for 
a complete history of the secular matters which it men- 
tions ; why should we look for a complete account of 
religious truth .'' You will say that its writers wrote in 
order to communicate religious truth ; true, but not all 
religious truth : that is the point. They did not sit 
down with a design to commit to paper all they had to 
say on the whole subject, all they could say about the 
Gospel, " the whole counsel of God " ; but they either 
wrote to correct some particular error of a particular 
time or place, or to "stir up the pure minds" of thar 

Structure of the Bible, antecedently considered. 149 

brethren, or in answer to questions, or to give direction 
for conduct, or on indifferent matters. For instance, St. 
Luke says he wrote his Gospel that Christians might 
know " the certainty of the things in which they had 
been instructed." Does this imply he told all that 
was to be told .■* Anyhow he did not ; for the other 
EvangeUsts add to his narrative. It is then far from 
being a self-evident truth that Scripture must contain 
all the revealed counsel of God ; rather, the probability 
at first sight lies the other way. 

Nevertheless, at least as regards matters of faith, it 
does (as we in common with all Protestants hold) contain 
all that is necessary for salvation ; it has been overruled 
to do so by Him who inspired it. By parallel acts of 
power, He both secretly inspired the books, and secretly 
formed them into a perfect rule or canon. I shall not 
prove what we all admit, but I state it, to prevent mis- 
apprehension. If asked how we know this to be the 
case, I answer, that the early Church thought so, and 
the early Church must have known. And, if this an- 
swer does not please the inquirer, he may look out for 
a better as he can. I know of no other. I require no 
other. For our own Church it is enough, as the Homi- 
lies show. It is enough that Scripture has been over- 
ruled to contain the whole Christian faith, and that the 
early Church so taught, though the form of Scripture at 
first sight might lead to an opposite conclusion. And 
this being once proved, we see in this state of things an 
analogy to God's providence in other cases. How con- 
fused is the course of the world, yet it is the working out 
of a moral system, and is overruled in every point by 
God's will ! Or, take the structure of the earth ; man- 
kind are placed in fertile and good dwelling-places, with 
hills and valleys, springs and fruitful fields, with metals 

150 Scripture and the Creed. 

and marbles, and coal, and other minerals, with seas and 
forests ; yet this beautiful and fully-furnished surface is 
the result of (humanly speaking) a series of accidents, of 
gradual influences and sudden convulsions, of a long his- 
tory of change and chance. 


Yet while we admit, or rather maintain, that the Bible 
is the one standard of faith, there is no reason why we 
should suppose the overruling hand of God to go further 
than we are told that it has gone. That He has over- 
ruled matters so far as to make the apparently casual 
writings of the Apostles a complete canon of saving faith, 
is no reason why He should have given them a systematic 
structure, or a didactic form, or a completeness in their 
subject-matter. So far as we have no positive proof that 
the Bible is more than at first sight it seems to be, so far 
the antecedent probability, which I have been insisting 
on, tells against its being more. Both the history of its 
composition and its internal structure are opposed to the 
notion of its being a complete depository of the Divine 
Will, unless the early Church says that it is. Now the 
early Church does not tell us this. It does not seem to 
have considered that a complete code of morals, or of 
Church. gover7tme7tt, or of rites, or oi discipline, is in Scrip- 
ture ; and therefore so far the original improbability 
remains in force. Again, this antecedent improbability 
tells, even in the case of the doctrines of faith, as far as 
this, viz., it reconciles us to the necessity of gaining them 
only indirectly from Scripture, for it is a near thing (if I 
may so speak) that they are in Scripture at all ; the 
wonder is, that they are all there ; humanly judging, 
they would not be there but for divine interposition ; 
and, therefore, since they are there by a sort of accident. 

Stt'ucture of tJie Bible ^ aritecedently considered. 1 5 1 

it is not strange they are there only in an implicit shape, 
and only indirectly producible thence. Providence effects 
His greatest ends by apparent accidents. As in respect 
to this earth, we do not find minerals or plants arranged 
within it as in a cabinet — as we do not find the ma- 
terials for building laid out in order, stone, timber, and 
iron — as metal is found in ore, and timber on the tree, — 
so we must not be surprised, but think it great gain, if 
we find revealed doctrines scattered about high and low 
in Scripture, in places expected and unexpected. It 
could not be otherwise, the same circumstances being 
supposed. Supposing fire, water, and certain chemical 
and electrical agents in free operation, the earth's 
precious contents coidd not be found arranged in order 
and in the light of day without a miracle ; and so with- 
out a miracle (which we are nowhere told to expect) we 
could not possibly find in Scripture all sacred truths in 
their place, each set forth clearly and fully, with its 
suitable prominence, its varied bearings, its developed 
meaning, supposing Scripture to be, what it is, the work 
of various independent minds in various times and 
places, and under various circumstances. And so much 
on what might reasonably be expected from the nature 
of the case. 


Structure of the Bible in matter of fact. 

I HAVE above insisted much upon this point, — that 
if Scripture contains any religious system at all, it 
must contain it covertly, and teach it obscurely, because 
it is altogether most immethodical and irregular in its 
structure; and therefore, that the indirectness of the 
Scripture proofs of the Catholic system is not an objec- 
tion to its cogency, except as it is an objection to the 
Scripture proofs of every other form of Christianity ; and 
accordingly that we must take our choice (Romanism 
being for the time put aside) between utter Latitudi- 
narianism and what may be called the Method of Infer- 
ences. Now this argument depends evidently on the 
fact, that Scripture is thus unsystematic in its structure 
— a fact which it would not be necessary to dwell upon, so 
obvious is it, except that examining into it will be found 
to give us a much more vivid apprehension of it, 
and to throw light upon the whole subject of Scrip- 
ture teaching. Something accordingly, I have just been 
observing about it from antecedent probability, and now 
I proceed, at some length, to inquire into the matter of 

I shall refer to Scripture as a record both of historical 
events and of general doctrine, with a view of exhibiting 
the peculiar character of its structure, the unostentatious, 
indirect, or covert manner, which it adopts, for whatever 

Structure of the Bible in matter of fact. 


reason, in its statements of whatever kind. This, I say, 
will throw light on the subject in hand ; for so it is, as 
soon as we come to see that anything, which has already 
attracted our notice in one way, holds good in others, 
that there is a certain law, according to which it occurs 
uniformly under various circumstances, we gain a satis- 
faction from that very coincidence, and seem to find a 
reason for it in the very circumstance that it does proceed 
on a rule or law. Even in matters of conduct, with 
which an external and invariable standard might seem to 
interfere, the avowal, " It is my way," " I always do so," 
is often given and accepted as a satisfactory account of 
a person's mode of acting. Order implies a principle ; 
order in God's Written Word implies a principle or design 
in it. If I show that the Bible is written throughout 
with this absence of method, I seem to find an order in 
the very disorder, and hence become reconciled to it in 
particular instances. That it is inartificial and obscure 
as regards the relation of facts, has the eff'ect of explain- 
ing its being obscure in statement of doctrines ; that it is 
so as regards one set of doctrines, seems naturally to 
account for its being so as regards another. Thus, the 
argument from analogy, which starts with the profession 
of being only of a negative character, ends with being 
positive, when drawn out into details ; such being the 
difference between its abstract pretension and its actual 
and practical force. 

First I propose to mention some instances of the un- 
studied and therefore perplexed character of Scripture, 
as regards its relation o{ facts; and to apply them, as 
I go, to the point under discussion, viz., the objection 
brought against the Church doctrines from the mode in 
which they too are stated in Scripture; and I shall beo-in 
without further preface. 

154 Scripture and the Creed, 


An illustration occurs in the very beginning of the 
Bible. However we account for it, with which I am not 
concerned, you will find that the narrative of the Crea- 
tion, commenced in the first chapter, ends at the third 
verse of the second chapter ; and then begins a fresh 
narrative, carrying on the former, but going back a little 
way. The difference is marked, as is well known, by 
the use of the word " God " in the former narrative, and 
of " Lord God " in the latter. According to the former, 
God is said to create man "in His own image; male 
and female created He them " on the sixth day. Ac- 
cording to the latter, the Lord God created Adam, and 
placed him in the garden of Eden, to dress and keep it, 
and gave him the command about the forbidden fruit, 
and brought the beasts to him ; and afterwards, on his 
finding the want of a helpmeet, caused him to sleep, 
and took one of his ribs, and thence made woman. 
This is an instance of the unsolicitous freedom and want 
of system of the sacred narrative. The second account, 
which is an expansion of the first, is in the letter opposed 
to it. Now supposing the narrative contained in the 
second chapter was not in Scripture, but ivas the received 
Church account of man's creation, it is plain not only 
would it not be in, but it could not even be gathered or 
proved from the first chapter ; which makes the argu- 
ment all the stronger. Evidently not a pretence could 
be made of proving from the first chapter the account 
of the dressing the garden, the naming the brutes, the 
sleep, and the creation of Eve from a rib. And most 
persons in this day would certainly have disbelieved it. 
Why ? Because it wanted autJiority ? No. There 
would be some sense in such a line of argument, but 

Structure of the Bible iti matter of fad. 155 

they would not go into the question of authority. 
Whether or not it had CathoHc tradition in its favour, 
whether Catholic tradition were or were not a sufficient 
guarantee of its truth, would not even enter into their 
minds ; they would not go so far, they would disbelieve 
it at once on two grounds : first, they would say Scrip- 
ture was silcjit about it, nay, that it contradicted it, that 
it spoke of man and woman being created both together 
on the sixth day ; and, secondly, they would say it was 
incongruous and highly improbable, and that the account 
of Adam's rib sounded Hke an idle tradition. If (I say) 
they were to set it aside for want of evidence of its 
truth, that would be a fair ground ; but I repeat, their 
reason for setting it aside (can it be doubted ?) would be, 
that it was inconsistent with Scripture in actual statement, 
and unlike it in tone. But it is in Scripture. It seems 
then that a statement may seem at variance with a cer- 
tain passage of Scripture, may bear an improbable 
exterior, and yet come from God. Is it so strange then, 
so contrary to the Scripture account of the institution, 
that the Lord's Supper should also be a Sacrifice, when 
it is no interference at all with the truth of the first 
chapter of Genesis, that the second chapter also should 
be true ? No one ever professed to deduce the second 
chapter from the first : all Anglo-Catholics profess to 
prove the sacrificial character of the Lord's Supper from 
Scripture. Thus the CathoHc doctrine of the Eucharist 
is not unscriptural, unless the book of Genesis is (what 
is impossible, God forbid the thought !) self contradictory. 
Again, take the following account, in the beginning 
of the fifth chapter of Genesis, and say whether, if this 
passage only had come down to us, and not the chapters 
before it, we should not, with our present notions, have 
utterly disallowed any traditional account of Eve's 

156 Scripture ayid the Creed. 

creation, the temptation, the fall,, and the history of Cain 
and Abel : — " This is the book of the generation of 
Adam. In the day that God created man, in the like- 
ness of God created He him ; male and female created 
He them ; and blessed them, and called their name 
Adam, in the day when they were created. And Adam 
lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his 
own likeness, after his image, and called his name Seth." 
If the contrast between God's likeness and Adam's 
image be insisted on as intentional, then I would have 
it observed, how indirect and concealed that allusion is. 

Again : I believe I am right in saying that we are no- 
where told in Scripture, certainly not in the Old Testa- 
ment, that the Serpent that tempted Eve was the Devil. 
The nearest approach to an intimation of it is the last 
book of the Bible, where the devil is called " that old 
serpent." Can we be surprised that other truths are but 
obscurely conveyed in Scripture, when this hardly escapes 
(as I may say) omission ? 

Again : we have two accounts of Abraham's denying 
his wife ; also, one instance of Isaac being betrayed into 
the same weakness. Now supposing we had only one or 
two of these in Scripture, and the others by tradition, 
should we not have utterly rejected these others as per- 
versions and untrustworthy.? On the one hand, we 
should have said it was inconceivable that two such pas- 
sages should occur in Abraham's life ; or, on the other, 
that it was most unlikely that both Abraham and Isaac 
should have gone to Gerar, in the time of a king of the 
same name, Abimelech. Yet because St. James says, 
" Confess your faults one to anotJier',' if we read that in 
the early Church there was an usage of secret confession 
made to the priest, we are apt to consider this latter 
practice, which our Communion Service recognizes, as a 

Structuie of I he Bible in matter of fact, 157 

mere perversion or corruption of the Scripture command, 
and that the words of St. James are a positive argument 
against it. 

In Deuteronomy we read that Moses fasted for forty 
days in the Mount, twice ; in Exodus only one fast 
is mentioned. Now supposing Deuteronomy were not 
Scripture, but merely part of the Prayer Book, should we 
not say the latter was in this instance evidently mistaken? 
This is what men do as regards Episcopacy. Deacons 
are spoken of by St. Paul in his Epistles to Timothy 
and Titus, and Bishops ; but no third order in direct and 
express terms. The Church considers that there are 
two kinds of Bishops, or, as the word signifies, overseers ; 
those who have the oversight of single parishes, or 
priests, and those who have the oversight of many 
together, or what are now specially called Bishops. 
People say, " Here is a contradiction to Scripture, which 
speaks of two orders, not of three." Yes, just as real a 
contradiction, as the chapter in Deuteronomy is a contra- 
diction of the chapter in Exodus. But this again is to 
take far lower ground than we need ; for we all contend 
that the doctrine of Episcopacy, even granting it goes 
beyond the teaching of some passages of Scripture, yet 
is in exact accordance with others. 

Again : in the history of Balaam we read, " God came 
unto Balaam at night, and said unto him. If the men 
come to call thee, rise up and go with than ; but yet the 
word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou speak." * 
Presently we read, " And God's anger was kindled, becatise 
he went ; and the Angel of the Lord stood in the way for 
an adversary against him." Now supposing the former 
circumstance (the permission given him to go) was not in 
Scripture, but was only the received belief of the Church, 

* Numb. x.\ii. 2a 

158 Scripture and the Creed. 

would it not be at once rejected by most men as incon- 
sistent with Scripture ? And supposing a Churchman 
were to entreat objectors to consider the strong evidence 
in Catholic tradition for its truth, would not the answer 
be, " Do not tell us of evidence ; we cannot give you a 
hearing ; your statement is in plain contradiction to the 
inspired text, which says that God's anger was kindled. 
How then can He have told Balaam to go with the men ? 
The matter stands to reason ; we leave it to the private 
judgment of any unbiassed person. Sophistry indeed 
may try to reconcile the tradition with Scripture ; but 
after all you are unscriptural, and we uphold the pure 
word of truth without glosses and refinements." Now, 
is not this just what is done in matters of doctrine ? 
Thus, because our Lord represents the Father saying, 
in the parable of the Prodigal Son, " Bring forth the best 
robe, and put it on him ; and put a ring on his hand, and 
shoes on his feet," * it is argued that this is inconsistent 
with the Oiurch's usage (even supposing for argument's 
sake it has no Scripture sanction) of doing penance for 


Again : the book of Deuteronomy, being a recapitula- 
tion of the foregoing Books, in an address to the Israelites, 
is in the position of the Apostolic Epistles. Exodus' 
Leviticus, and Numbers, being a very orderly and syste- 
matic account of events, are somewhat in the position of 
Catholic tradition. Now Deuteronomy differs in some 
minute points from the former books. For example : in 
Exodus, the fourth commandment contains a reference 
to the creation of the world on the seventh day, as the 
reason of the institution of the Sabbath : in Deuteronomy, 
the same commandment refers it to the deliverance of the 
Israelites out of Egypt on that day. Supposing we had 

* Luke XV. 22. 

Structure of the Bible in matter of fact, 159 

only the latter statement in Scripture, and supposing the 
former to be only the received doctrine of the Church, 
would not this former, that is, the statement contained in 
Exodus, that the Sabbatical rest was in memory of God's 
resting after the Creation, have seemed at once fanciful 
and unfounded ? Would it not have been said, " Why 
do you have recourse to the mysticism of types ? here is 
a plain intelligible reason for keeping the Sabbath holy, 
viz., the deliverance from Egypt Be content with this : 
— besides, your view is grossly carnal and anthropomor- 
phic. How can Almighty God be said to rest ? And it 
is unscriptural ; for Christ says, ' My Father worketh 
hitherto, and I work.' " Now is it not a similar pro- 
cedure to argue, thatj/wr^ the Holy Eucharist is a " com- 
munication of the body and blood of Christ," therefore it 
is not also a mysterious representation of His meritorious 
Sacrifice in the sight of Almighty God ? 


Let us proceed to the history of the Monarchy, as 
contained in the Books of Samuel and Kings, and com- 
pare them with the Chronicles. Out of many instances 
in point, I will select a few. For instance : — 

In 2 Kings xv. we read of the reign of Azariah, or 
Uzziah, king of Judah. It is said, " he did that which 
was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that 
his father Amaziah had done ; " and then that " the Lord 
smote the king, so that he was a leper unto the day of 
his death ; " and we are referred for " the rest of the acts 
of Azariah, and all that he did," to "the book of the 
Chronicles of the kings of Judah." We turn to the 
Chronicles, and find an account of the cause of the visita- 
tion which came upon him. " When he was strong, his 
')eart was lifted up to his destruction ; for he transgressed 

1 60 Scripture a7id the Creed. 

against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of 
the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense. And 
Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him four- 
score priests of the Lord that were valiant men. And they 
withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It apper- 
taineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the 
Lord, but to the priests, the sons of Aaron, that are conse- 
crated to burn incense : go out of the sanctuary, for thou 
hast trespassed ; neither shall it be for thine honour from 
the Lord God. Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer 
in his hand to burn incense ; and while he was wroth with 
the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead, before 
the priests in the house of the Lord, from beside the in- 
cense altar. And Azariah, the chief priest, and all the 
priests, looked upon him, and behold he was leprous in 
his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence ; yea, 
himself hasted also to go out because the Lord had 
smitten him. And Uzziah the king was a leper unto 
the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being 
a leper." * 

Now nothing can be more natural than this joint 
narrative. The one is brief, but refers to the other for 
the details ; and the other gives them. Suppose, then, 
a captious mind were to dwell upon the remarkable 
silence of the former narrative, — magnify it as an objec- 
tion, — and on the other hand should allude to the 
tendency of the second narrative to uphold the priest- 
hood, and should attribute it to such a design. Should 
we think such an argument valid, or merely ingenious, 
clever, amusing, yet not trustworthy.? I suppose the 
latter; yet this instance is very near a parallel to the 
case as it stands, between the New Testament and the 
doctrine of the Church. For instance, after St. Paul 

• 2 Chron. xxvi. 16 — 21. 

Structure of the Bible in matter of fact. i6i 

has declared some plain truths to the Corinthians, he 
says, " Be ye followers of me : for this cause have I sent 
unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faith- 
ful in the Lord, lu/io shall bring you into remembrance of 
my zvays, which be in Christ, as I teach everywhere in 
every Church." * He refers them to an authority beyond 
and beside his epistle, — to Timothy, nay to his doctrine 
as he had taught in every Church. If then we can as- 
certain, for that I here assume, what was that doctrine 
taught everywhere in the Church, we have ascertained 
that to which St. Paul refers us ; and if that doctrine, so 
ascertained, adds many things in detail to what he has 
written, develops one thing, and gives a different im- 
pression of others, it is no more than such a reference 
might lead us to expect, — it is the very thing he prepares 
us for. It as little, therefore, contradicts what is written, 
as the books of Chronicles contradict the books of Kings; 
and if it appears to favour the priesthood more than St. 
Paul does, this is no more than can be objected to the 
Chronicles compared with the Kings. 

Again, after, not teaching, but reminding them about 
the Lord's Supper, he adds, " the rest will I set in order 
when I come." When then we find the Church has 
always considered that Holy Sacrament to be not only 
a feast or supper, but in its fulness to contain a sacrifice, 
and to require a certain liturgical form, how does this 
contradict the inspired text, which plainly signifies that 
something else is to come besides what it has said itself.? 
So far from its being strange that the Church brings out 
and fills up St. Paul's outline, it would be very strange 
if it did not. Yet it is not unusual to ascribe these 
additional details to priestcraft, and without proof to 
call them corruptions and innovations, in the very spirit 
• I Cor. iv. 17. 


1 62 Scripture and the Creed, 

in which freethinkers have before now attributed the 
books of Chronicles to the Jewish priests, and accused 
them of bigotry and intolerance. 

It is remarkable how frequent are the allusions in the 
Epistles to other Apostolic teaching beyond themselves, 
that is, besides the written authority. For instance ; in 
the same chapter, " I praise you, brethren, that ye re- 
member me in all things, and keep the traditions, as I 
delivered them to you." Again, " I have also received," 
or had by tradition, "of the Lord that which also I 
delivered unto you," that is, which I gave by tradition 
unto you. This giving and receiving was not in writing. 
Again, "If any man seem to be contentious, we have nc 
such custom, neither the churches of God : " he appeals 
to the received custom of the Church. Again, " I de- 
clare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, 
which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand, . . . 
for I delivered unto you (gave by tradition) first of all 
that which I also received" (by tradition). Again, 
" Stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have 
been taught, whether by word or our epistle."* Such 
passages prove, as all will grant, that at the time there 
were means of gaining knowledge distinct from Scripture, 
and sources of information in addition to it. When, then, 
we actually do find in the existing Church system of 
those times, as historically recorded, such additional in- 
formation, that information may be ApostoHc or it may 
be not ; but however this is, the mere circumstance that 
it is in addition, is no proof against its being Apostolic ; 
that it is extra-scriptural is no proof that it is unscrip- 
tural, for St. Paul himself tells us in Scripture, that there 
are truths not in Scripture, and we may as fairly ob- 
ject to the books of Chronicles, that they are an addition 

* I Cor. xi. 2, l6, 23 J IV. I — 3 ; I Thess. ii. 15. 

Structure of the Bible in matter of fad. 163 

to the books of Kings. In saying this, I am not enter- 
ing into the question which lies between us and the 
Romanists, whether these further truths are substantive 
additions or simply developments, whether in faith or in 
conduct and discipHne. 

Further : the Chronicles pass over David's great sin, 
and Solomon's fall ; and they insert Manasseh's repent- 
ance. The account of Manasseh's reign is given at 
length in the second book of Kings ; it is too long of 
course to cite, but the following are some of its par- 
ticulars. Manasseh* "used enchantments and dealt 
with familiar spirits and wizards;" he "seduced them 
to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord 
destroyed before the children of Israel." " Moreover 
Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had 
filled Jerusalem from one end to another." Afterwards, 
when Josiah had made his reforms, the sacred Avriter 
addSjf " Notwithstanding the Lord turned from the 
fierceness of His great wratJi, wherewith His anger was 
kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations 
that Manasseh had provoked him withal." And again 
in Jehoiakim's time,J " Surely, at the commandment of 
the Lord came this upon Judah, to remove them out of 
His sight for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that 
he did ; and also for the innocent blood, that he shed ; 
for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, which the 
Lord would not pardon." And again in the book of Jere- 
miah,§ "I will cause them to be removed into all the 
kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh, the son of 
Hezekiah, king of Judah, for that which he did in Jeru- 
salem." Who would conjecture, with such passages of 
Scripture before him, that Manasseh repented before his 
death, and was forgiven } but to complete the illusion (as 

* 2 Kings xxi. f 2 Kings xxiii. 26. J 2 Kings xxiv. 3, 4. ^ Jer. xv. 4. 

1 64 Scripture and the Creed. 

it may be called), the account of his reign in the book 
of Kings ends thus : * " Now the rest of the acts of 
Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, 
are they not written in the book of the Chronicles of the 
kings of Judah ? " — not a word about his repentance. 
Might it not then be plausibly argued that the books of 
Kings precisely limited and defined what the Chronicles 
were to relate, " tJie sin that he sijined ; " that this was to 
be the theme of the history, its outline and ground plan, 
and that the absolute silence of the books of Kings about 
his repentance was a cogent, positive argument that he 
did not repent? How little do they prepare one for 
the following most touching record of him : "When he 
was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and 
humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, 
and prayed unto Him. And He was entreated of him, 
and heard his supplication, and brought him again to 
Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew 
that the Lord He was God. . . . And he took away the 
strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the Lord, 
and the altars that he had built in the mount of the 
house of the Lord, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out 
of the city," etc. ..." Now the rest of the acts of 
Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words 
of the seers that spake to him in the name of the Lord 
God of Israel, behold they are written in the book of 
the kings of Israel. ... So Manasseh slept with his 
fathers." f If then the books of Kings were the only 
canonical account, and the book of Chronicles part of the 
Apocrypha, would not the latter be pronounced an 
unscriptural record, a legend and a tradition of men, 
not because the evidence for their truth was insuffi- 
cient, but on the allegation that they contradicted the 

• 2 Kings xxL f 2 Chron. xxxiii. 12 — 20. 

Slructure of the Bible i?i matter of fact. 165 

books of Kings ? — at least, is not this what is done as 
regards the Church system of doctrine, as if it must be 
at variance with the New Testament, because it views 
the Gospel from a somewhat distinct point of view, and 
in a distinct hght ? 

Again ; the account given of Jehoash in the Kings is 
as follows : * " Jehoash did that which was right in the 
sight of the Lord all his 'days, wherein Jehoiada the 
priest instructed him." And it ends thus : "His servants 
arose and made a conspiracy, and slew Joash in the 
house of Millo : " there is no hint of any great defection 
or miserable ingratitude on his part, though, as it turns 
out on referring to Chronicles, the words " all his days, 
wherein," etc., are significant. In the Chronicles we learn 
that after good Jehoiada's death, whose wife had saved 
him from Athaliah, and who preserved for him his 
throne, he went and served groves and idols, and killed 
Zechariah the son of Jehoiada, when he was raised up by 
the Spirit of God to protest. Judgments followed, — the 
Syrians, and then " great diseases," and then assassi- 
nation. Now, if the apparently simple words, " all the 
days wherein," etc., are emphatic, why may not our 
Saviour's words, " If thou bring thy gifts to the altar,'' 
be emphatic, or " If thou wouldst be perfect" suggest a 
doctrine which it does not exhibit .-' 

Now let us proceed to the Gospels ; a few instances 
must suffice. 

Considering how great a miracle the raising of Lazarus 

is in itself, and how connected with our Lord's death, 

how is it that the three first Gospels do not mention it } 

They speak of the chief priests taking counsel to put Him 

• 2 Kings xii. 

1 66 Scripture and the Creed. 

to death, but they give no reason ; rather they seem to 
assign other reasons, — for instance, the parables He 
spoke against them.* At length St. John mentions the 
miracle and its consequences. Things important then 
may be true, though particular inspired documents d^ 
not mention them. As the raising of Lazarus is true^ 
though not contained at all in the first three Gospels, so 
the gift of consecrating the Eucharist may have been 
committed by Christ to the priesthood, though this 
is only indirectly stated in any of the four. Will you 
say I am arguing against our own Church, which says 
that Scripture " contains all things necessary to be be- 
lieved to salvation " ? Doubtless, Scripture contains all 
things necessary to be believed ; but there may be things 
contained in it, which are not on the surface, and things 
which belong to the ritual and not to belief. Points of 
faith may lie under the surface, points of observance need 
not be in Scripture at all. The rule for consecrating is 
a point of ritual ; yet it is indirectly taught in Scripture, 
though not brought out, when Christ said, " Do this," 
for He spoke to the Apostles who were priests, not to 
His disciples generally. 

Again : I just now mentioned the apparent repetition 
in Genesis of the account of Abraham's denying his 
wife ; a remark which applies to the parallel miracles 
which occur in the histories of Elijah and EHsha, as the 
raising of the dead child and the multiplication of the 
oil. Were only the first of these parallel instances in 
Scripture, and the second in tradition, we should call 
the second a corruption or distorted account ; and not 
without some plausibility, till other and contrary reasons 
were brought. And in like manner, as regards the 
Gospels, did the account of the feeding of the 4,000 

* Matt. xxi. 45. 

Structure of the Bible in matter of fact. 167 

with seven loaves rest on the testimony of Antiquity, 
most of us would have said, " You see how little you can 
trust the Fathers ; it was not 4,000 with seven loaves, but 
5,000 with five." Again, should we not have pronounced 
that the discourses in Luke vi., xi., and xii., if they came 
to us through the Fathers, were the same, only in a cor- 
rupt form, as the Sermon on the Mount in Matt. v. — ^vii. 
and as chapter xxiii. .'' Nay, we should have seized 
on Luke xi. 41, " But rather give alms of such things 
as ye have, and behold all tilings are clean unto you," 
as a symptom of incipient Popery, a mystery already 
working. Yes, our Saviour's own sacred words (I fear 
too truly) would have been seized on by some of us 
as the signs of the dawn of Antichrist This is a most 
miserable thought. 

Again : St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke say, 
that Simon of Cyrene bore Christ's cross ; St. John, that 
Christ Himself bore it. Both might be true, and both 
of course were true. He bore it part of the way, and 
Simon part. Yet I conceive, did we find it was the 
tradition of the Church that Simon bore it, we should 
decide, without going into the evidence, that this was 
a gloss upon the pure scriptural statement. So, in like 
manner, even supposing that, when St. Paul says, "Ye 
do shew forth the Lord's death till He come," he meant, 
which I do not grant, by " shew forth," preach, remind 
each other of, or commemorate among yourselves, and 
nothing more, (which I repeat I do not grant,) even then 
it may be that the Holy Eucharist is also a remembrance 
in God's sight, a pleading before Him the merits of 
Christ's death, and, so far, a propitiatory offering, even 
though this view of it were only contained in the im- 
memorial usage of the Church, and were no point 
of necessary faith contained in Scripture. 

1 68 Scripture and the Creed. 

Again : Judas is represented as hanging himself in 
St. Matthew, yet in the Acts as falHng headlong, and his 
bowels gushing out. I do not mean to say, of course, 
that these accounts are irreconcilable even by us ; but 
they certainly differ from each other : do not they differ 
as much as the explicit Scripture statement that Confir- 
mation imparts miraculous gifts, differs from the Church 
view, not clearly brought out in Scripture, that it is also 
an ordinary rite conferring ordinary gifts .'' 

We know how difficult it is to reconcile the distinct 
accounts of the occurrences which took place at the 
Resurrection with each other, and our Lord's appearances 
to His disciples. For instance : — according to Matt, 
xxviii., it might seem that Christ did not appear to His 
disciples, till He met them on the mountain in Galilee ; 
but in St. Luke and St. John His first appearance was 
on the evening of the day of Resurrection. Again : in 
the Gospel according to St. Mark and St. Luke, the 
Ascension seems to follow immediately on the Resur- 
rection ; but in the Acts our Lord is declared to have 
shown Himself to His disciples for forty days. These 
forty days are a blank in two Gospels. And in like 
manner, even though Scripture be considered to be alto- 
gether silent as to the intermediate state, and to pass 
from the mention of death to that of the Judgment, there 
is nothing in this circumstance to disprove the Church's 
doctrine, (if there be other grounds for it,) that there is 
an intermediate state, and that it has an important place 
in the scheme of salvation, that in it the souls of the 
faithful are purified and grow in grace, that they pray 
for us, and that our prayers benefit them. 

Moreover, there is on the face of the New Testament 
plain evidence, that often the sacred writers are but 
referring to the circumstances it relates, as known, and 

Structure of the BibltHn mattcf of fad. 169 

not narrating them. Thus St. Luke, after describing our 
Lord's consecration of the bread at supper time, adds 
immediately, ^^ Likewise also the cup after supper, say- 
ing,"* etc. ; he does not narrate it in its place ; he does 
but allude to it as a thing well known, in the way of a note 
or memorandum. Again: St. Mark, in giving an account 
of St. John Baptist's martyrdom, says, " When his dis- 
ciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse and 
laid it in i'//^tomb."t He is evidently speaking of an 
occurrence, and of a tomb, which were well known to 
those for whom he wrote. If historical facts be thus 
merely alluded to, not taught, why may not doctrines 
also ? Here again it will be replied, that Scripture was 
written to teach doctrine, not history ; but such an an- 
swer will not hold good for many reasons. First, is it 
true that the Gospels were not written to teach us the 
facts of Christ's life ? Next, is it true that the account 
of the institution of the Lord's Supper is a mere abstract 
historical narrative, and not recorded to direct our prac- 
tice ? Further, where is the proof that Scripture was 
intended to teach doctrine ? This is one of the main 
points in dispute. But enough in answer to a gratuitous 
proposition ; and enough indeed in exemplification of 
the characteristic of Scripture, which I proposed to con- 

* Luke xxii. 20. 

t Mark vi 29. [In the revised Version of 1881, it is translated "in a 
tomb ;" but fi.vr,ij.f7ov is more than a tomb, it implies a place of rctuevtbrattce.'} 



The Impression made 07i the Reader by the Statements 
of Scripture. 

THE characteristics then, of the narrative portion 
of Scripture are such as I have described ; it is 
unsystematic and unstudied ; — from which I would infer, 
that as Scripture relates facts without aiming at com- 
pleteness or consistency, so it relates doctrtjtes also ; so 
that, if it does after all include in its teaching the whole 
Catholic Creed; (as we of the English Church hold,) this 
does not happen from any purpose in its writers so to do, 
but from the overruling providence of God, overruling just 
so far as this : to secure a certain result, not a certain 
mode of attaining it, — not so as to interfere with their 
free and natural manner of writing, but by imperceptibly 
guiding it ; in other words, not securing their teaching 
against indirectness and disorder, but against eventual 
incompleteness. From which it follows, that we must 
not be surprised to find in Scripture doctrines of the 
Gospel, however momentous, nevertheless taught ob- 
liquely, and capable only of circuitous proof; — such, for 
instance, as that of the Blessed Trinity, — and, among 
them, the especial Church doctrines, such as the Aposto- 
lical Succession, the efficacy of the Holy Eucharist, and 
the essentials of the Ritual. 

The argument, stated in a few words, stands thus : — 
Since distinct portions of Scripture itself are apparently 
inconsistent with one another, yet are not really so, 

Impression made by Scripture Slatements. 1 7 1 

therefore it does not follow that Scripture and Catholic 
doctrine are at variance with each other, even though 
there may be sometimes a difficulty in adjusting the one 
with the other. 

Now I propose to go over the ground again in some- 
what a different way, not confining myself to illustra- 
tions from Scripture narrative, but taking others from 
Scripture teaching also, and that with a view of answer- 
ing another form which the objection is likely to take. 


The objection then may be put thus : "We are told, 
it seems, in the Prayer Book, of a certain large and in- 
fluential portion of doctrine, as constituting one great 
part of the Christian Revelation, that is, of Sacraments, 
of Ministers, of Rites, of Observances ; we are told that 
these are the appointed means through which Christ's 
gifts are conveyed to us. Now when we turn to Scrip- 
ture, we see much indeed of those gifts, viz., we read much 
of what He has done for us, by atoning for our sins, and 
much of what He does in us, that is, much about holi- 
ness, faith, peace, love, joy, hope, and obedience ; but of 
those intermediate provisions of the Revelation coming 
between Him and us, of which the Church speaks, we 
read very little. Passages, indeed, are pointed out to us 
as if containing notices of them, but they are in our 
judgment singularly deficient and unsatisfactory; and 
that, either because the meaning assigned to them is 
not obvious and natural, but (as we think) strained, un- 
expected, recondite, and at best but possible, or because 
they are conceived in such plain, unpretending words, 
that we cannot imagine the writers meant to say any 
great thing in introducing them. On the other hand, a 
silence is observed in certain places, where one might 

172 Scripture and tJie Creed. 

expect the doctrines in question to be mentioned. 
Moreover, the general tone of the New Testament is 
to our apprehension a full disproof of them ; that is, it 
is moral, rational, elevated, impassioned, but there is 
nothing of what may be called a sacramental, ecclesias- 
tical, mysterious tone in it. 

" For instance, let Acts xx. be considered : ' Upon 
the first day of the week, when the disciples came 
together to break bread ' — who would imagine, from 
such a mode of speaking, that this was a solemn, mys- 
terious rite } The words ' break bread ' are quite a 
familiar expression. 

"Or again: 'Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, 
therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nei- 
ther with the leaven of maHce and wickedness, but with 
the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.' Here, 
if the Church system were true, one might have ex- 
pected that in mentioning 'keeping the feast,' a reference 
would be made to the Eucharist, as being the great feast 
of Christ's sacrifice; whereas, instead of the notion of 
any literal feast occuring to the sacred writer, a mental 
feast is the only one he proceeds to mention ; and the 
unleavened bread of the Passover, instead of suggest- 
ing to his mind the sacred elements in the Eucharist, is 
to him but typical of something moral, 'sincerity and 

" Or again : ' Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the 
end of the world.' * This means, we are told, that Christ 
is with the present Church : for when Christ said ' with 
you,' He meant with you and your descendants ; and the 
Church, at present so called, is descended from the Apos- 
tles and first disciples. How very covert, indirect, and 
unlikely a meaning ! 

• Matt, xxviii. 20. 

Impression made by Scripture Statements. 173 

" Or, to take another instance : How is it proved that 
the Lord's Supper is generally necessary to salvation ? 
By no part of Scripture except the sixth chapter of 
St John. Now, suppose that a person denies that this 
passage belongs to that Sacrament, how shall we prove 
it ? And is it any very strong step to deny it ? Do 
not many most excellent men now alive deny it ? have 
not many now dead denied it ? " 

This is the objection now to be considered, which lies 
it would seem in this : that after considering what I have 
been saying about the statement of facts in Scripture, 
after all allowances on the score of its unstudied character, 
there is still a serious difficulty remaining, — that the cir- 
cumstance that its books were written at different times 
and places, by different persons, without concert, explains 
indeed much, — explains indeed why there is no system 
in it, why so much is out of place, why great truths come 
in by-the-bye, nay, would explain why others were left 
out, were there any such ; but it does not explain the 
case as it stands, it does not explain why a doctrine is 
not introduced when there is an actual call for it, why a 
sacred writer should come close up to it, as it were, and 
yet pass by it ; why, when he does introduce it, he should 
mention it so obscurely, as not at all to suggest it to an 
ordinary reader ; why, in short, the tone and character 
of his writing should be just contrary to his real meaning. 
This is the difficulty, — strongly, nay almost extrava- 
gantly put, but still plausible, — on which I shall now 
attempt some remarks. 


Now there are two attributes of the Bible throughout, 
which, taken together, seem to meet this difficulty,— - 
attribute.s which, while at first sight in contrast, have 

1 74 Scripture and the Creed. 

a sort of necessary connexion, and set off each other — 
simplicity and depth. SimpHcity leads a writer to say 
things without display; and depth obRges him to use 
inadequate words. Scripture then, treating of invisible 
things, at best must use words less than those things ; 
and, as if from a feeling that no words can be worthy of 
them, it does not condescend to use even the strongest 
that exist, but often takes the plainest. The deeper the 
thought, the plainer the word ; the word and thought 
diverge from each other. Again, it is a property of 
depth to lead a writer into verbal contradictions ; and 
it is a property of simplicity not to care to avoid them. 
Again, when a writer is deep, his half sentences, paren- 
theses, clauses, nay his words, have a meaning in them 
independent of the context, and admit of exposition. 
There is nothing put in for ornament's sake, or for 
rhetoric ; nothing put in for the mere sake of anything 
else, but all for its own sake ; all as the expressions and 
shadows of great things, as seeds of thought, and with 
corresponding realities. Moreover, when a writer is deep, 
or again when he is simple, he does not set about ex- 
hausting his subject in his remarks upon it ; he says so 
much as is in point, no more ; he does not go out of 
his way to complete a view or to catch at collateral 
thoughts ; he has something before him which he aims 
at, and, while he cannot help including much in his 
meaning which he does not aim at, he does aim at one 
thing, not at another. Now to illustrate these remarks, 
and to apply them. 

One of the most remarkable characteristics of Scrip- 
ture narrative, which I suppose all readers must have 
noticed, is the absence" of expressions by which the 
reader can judge whether the events recorded are pre- 
sented for praise or blame. A plain bare series of facts 

Impression made by Scripture Statements. 175 

is drawn out ; and whether for imitation or warning, often 
cannot be decided except by the context, or by the event, 
or by our general notions of propriety — often not at all. 
The bearing and drift of the narrative are not given. 

For instance, when the prophet Isaiah told Ahaz to 
ask a sign, he said, " I will not ask, neither will I tempt 
the Lord." Was this right or wrong ? 

When Elisha said to Joash, " Smite on the ground," 
the king " smote thrice and stayed." What was the fault 
of this ? We should not know it was faulty but by the 
event, viz., that "the man of God was wroth with him, and 
said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times." * 

What was David's sin in numbering the people .>' Or 
take the account of Moses striking the rock : " And 
Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as He com- 
manded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the 
congregation together before the rock, and he said unto 
them, Hear now, ye rebels ; must we fetch you water out 
of this rock ? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with 
his rod he smote the rock twice : and the water came 
out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their 
beasts also."t I really do not think we should have 
discovered that there was anything wrong in this, but 
for the comment that follows : " Because ye believed Me 
not, to sanctify Me," etc. ; though, of course, when we 
are told, we are able to point out where their fault lay. 

And in that earlier passage in the history of Moses, 
when his zeal led him to smite the Egyptian, we are 
entirely left by the sacred narrative to determine for 
ourselves whether his action was good or bad, or how 
far one, how far the other. We are left to a comment, 
the comment of our own judgment, external to the in- 
spired volume. 

* 2 Kings xiii. i8, 19. f Numb. xx. 9— n. 

176 Scriphcre and the Creed. 

Or consider the account of Jeroboam's conduct from 
first to last in the revolt of the ten tribes ; or that of the 
old prophet who dwelt in Samaria, Is it not plain that 
Scripture does not interpret itself? 

Or consider the terms in which an exceeding great 
impiety of Ahaz and the high priest is spoken of; and 
say, if we knew not the Mosaic law, or if we were not 
told in the beginning of the chapter what the character 
of Ahaz was, whether we should be able to determine, 
from the narrative itself, whether he was doing a right 
or a wrong, or an indifferent action. There is no epithet, 
no turn of sentence, which betrays the divine judgment 
of his deed. It passes in the Scripture narrative, as in 
God's daily providence, silently. I allude to the follow- 
ing passage : " And king Ahaz went to Damascus to 
meet Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, and saw an altar 
that was at Damascus : and king Ahaz sent to Urijah 
the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, 
according to all the Avorkmanship thereof. And Urijah 
the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz 
had sent from Damascus : so Urijah the priest made it 
against king Ahaz came from Damascus. And when 
the king w^as come from Damascus, the king saw the 
altar ; and the king approached to the altar, and 
offered thereon. And he burned his burnt-offering, and 
his meat-offering, and poured his drink-offering, and 
sprinkled the blood of his peace-offerings upon the 
altar. And he brought also the brasen altar, which 
was before the Lord, from the fore-front of the house, 
from between the altar and the house of the Lord, and 
put it on the north side of the altar. And king Ahaz 
commanded Urijah the priest, saying. Upon the great 
altar bum the morning burnt-offering . . . and the 
brasen altar shall be for me to inquire by. Thus did 

Impression made by Scripture Stateinents. 177 

Urijah the priest, according to all that king Ahaz 
commanded." * 

Or, again, how simple and unadorned is the account 
of St. John Baptist's martyrdom ! " Herod had laid 
hold of John, and bound him and put him in prison for 
Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife ; for John said 
unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. And 
when he would have put him to death, he feared the 
multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. 
But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter 
of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod- 
Whereupon, he promised with an oath, to give her what- 
soever she would ask. And she, being before instructed 
of her mother, said. Give me here John Baptist's head 
in a charger. And the king was sorry : nevertheless for 
the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, 
he commanded it to be given her. And he sent, and 
beheaded John in the prison. And his head was 
brought in a charger, and given to the damsel ; and 
she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came, 
and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told 
Jesus," t Not a word of indignation, of lament, or of 
triumph ! Such is the style of Scripture, singularly 
contrasted to the uninspired style, most beautiful but 
still human, of the ancient Martyrologies ; for instance, 
that of the persecution at Lyons and Vienne. 

St. Paul's journey to Jerusalem, against the warnings 
of the prophets, is the last instance of this character of 
Scripture narrative which shall be given. The facts of 
it are related so nakedly, that there has been room for 
maintaining that he was wrong in going thither. That 
he was right would seem certain, from the way in which 
he speaks of these warnings : " Behold, I go bound in the 

• 2 Kings xvi. lo — 16. f Matt. xiv. 


178 Scripture and the Creed. 

Spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall 
befall me there, save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in 
every city, saying, that bonds and afflictions abide me ; "* 
and also from Christ's words in the vision : " Be of good 
cheer, Paul ; for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem,"! 
etc. Yet though this be abundantly enough to convince 
us, nevertheless, the impression conveyed by the warning 
of the disciples at Tyre saying, " through the Spirit, that 
he should not go up to Jerusalem,":}: and by that of 
Agabus at Caesarea, and, when he got to Jerusalem, by 
his attempt to soften the Jews by means of a conformity 
to the Law, and by his strong words, seemingly retracted, 
to Ananias, and by his cleverly dividing the Jewish council 
by proclaiming himself a Pharisee, — the impression, I say, 
conveyed by all this would in itself be (a very false one,) 
that there was something human in his conduct 


Thus the style of Scripture is plain and colourless, as 
regards the relation of facts ; so that we are continually 
perplexed what to think about them and about the parties 
concerned in them. They need a comment, — they are 
evidently but a \.Q.yXfor a comment, — they have no com- 
ment ; and as they stand, may be turned this way or 
that way, according to the accidental tone of mind in 
the reader. And often the true comment, when given us 
in other parts of Scripture, is startling. I think it start- 
ling at first sight that Lot, being such as he is repre- 
sented to be on the whole in the Old Testament, should 
be called by St. Peter "a just man." I think Ehud's 
assassination of Eglon a startling act, — the praise given 
to Jael for killing Sisera, startling. It is evident that 
the letter of the sacred history conveys to the ordinary 

• Acts XX. 22, 23. t lb. xxiii. il. \ lb. xxL 4. 

Impression made by Scripture Stateuients. 179 

reader a very inadequate idea of the facts recorded in it, 
considered as bodily, substantial, and (as it were) living 
and breathing transactions. 

Equal simplicity is observed in the relation of great 
and awful events. For instance, consider the words in 
which is described the vision of God vouchsafed to the 
elders of Israel. " Then went up Moses and Aaron, and 
Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel ; 
and they saw the God of Israel : and there was under 
His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and 
as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And 
upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not 
His hand : also they saw God, and did eat and did 
drink." * Or consider the account of Jacob's wrestling 
with the Angel. Or the plain, unadorned way in which 
the conversations, if I may dare use the word, between 
Almighty God and Moses are recorded, and His 
gracious laments, purposes of wrath, appeasement, 
repentance. Or between the Almighty and Satan, in 
the first chapter of Job. Or how simply and abruptly 
the narrative runs, " And [the Serpent] said unto the 
woman . . . and the woman said unto the serpent ; " or, 
" And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she 
said to Balaam, . . . and Balaam said unto the ass."t 
Minds familiarized to supernatural things, minds set upon 
definite great objects, have no disposition, no time to 
indulge in embellishment, or to aim at impressiveness, or 
to consult for the weakness or ignorance of the hearer. 

And so in like: manner the words in which the celebra- 
tion of the holy Eucharist is spoken of by St. Luke and 
St. Paul, viz., " breaking bread," are very simple : they 
are applicable to a common meal quite as well as to the 
h'acrament, and they only do not exclude, they in no 
* Exod. xxiv. 9 — II. f Numb. xxii. 28 — 29. 

1 80 Scripture and Ike Creed. 

respect introduce that full and awful meaning which the 
Church has ever put on them, " As He sat at meat 
with them, He took bread, and blessed it, and brake, 
and gave to them ; and their eyes were opened."* "They 
continued stedfastly in the breaking of bread, and in 
prayers." t "The first day of the week, when the 
disciples came together to break bread. . . . When he 
therefore was come up again and had broken bread, 
and eaten, and talked a long while even till break of day, 
so he departed." J " When he had thus spoken, he took 
bread, and gave thanks to God in the presence of them 
all ; and when he had broken it, he began to eat."§ 
" The bread which we break, is it not the communion 
of the Body of Christ .?"|| "The Lord Jesus, the same 
night in which He was betrayed, took bread ; and when 
He had given thanks. He brake it." IT Now no words 
can be simpler than these. What is remarkable is the 
repeated mention of the very same acts in the same 
order — taking, blessing or giving thanks, and breaking. 
Certainly the constant use of the word " break" is very 
remarkable. For instance, in the ship, why should it be 
said, " And when He had thus spoken, He took bread, 
and gave thanks ; and when He had broken it. He began 
to eat," since he alone ate it, and did not divide it among 
his fellow-passengers .'' But supposing the passages had 
been a little less frequent, so as not to attract attention 
by their similarity, what could be more simple than the 
words, — what less adapted to force on the mind any 
high meaning .-• Yet these simple words, blessing, break- 
ing, eating, giving, have a very high meaning put on 
them in our Prayer Book, put on them by the Church 
from the first ; and a person may be tempted to say 

*Luke xxiv. 30, 31. % Acts xx. 7 — 11. || I Cor. x. 16. 

t Acts ii. 42. § lb. xxvii. 35, 1; lb. xi. 23, 24. 

Impression made by Scrip hwe Slatements. i8i 

that the Church's meaning is not borne out by such 
simple words. I ask, are they more bare and colourless 
ihan the narrative of many a miraculous transaction in 
the Old Testament ? 

Such is the plain and (as it were) unconscious way in 
which great things are recorded in Scripture. However, 
it may be objected that there is no allusion to Catholic 
doctrines, even where one would think there must have 
been, had they been in the inspired writer's mind ; that 
is, supposing them part of the Divine Revelation. For in- 
stance, if Baptism is so indispensable for the evangelical 
blessings, why do we hear nothing of the baptism of the 
Apostles ? If Ordinances are so imperative now, why 
does not our Lord say so, when He says, " Neither in 
this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, shall ye worship 
the Father " .-* That is, the tone of the New Testament 
is unsacramental ; and the impression it leaves on the 
mind is not that of a Priesthood and its attendant 
system. This may be objected : yet I conceive that 
a series of Scripture parallels to this, as regards other 
matters, might easily be drawn out, all depending on 
this principle, and illustrating it in the case before us ; 
viz., that when the sacred writers were aiming at one 
thing, they did not go out of their way ever so little to 
introduce another. The fashion of this day, indeed, is 
ever to speak about all religious things at once, and 
never to introduce one, but to introduce all, and never to 
maintain reserve about any ; and those who are imbued 
with the spirit which this implies, doubtless will find it 
difficult to understand how the sacred writers could help 
speaking of what was very near their subject, when it 
was not their subject. Still we must submit to facts, 
which abundantly evidence that they could. This 
omission of the Sacraments in St. Paul and St. John, so 

1 82 Scripticre and the Creed. 

far as distinct mention is omitted (for in fact they are fre- 
quently mentioned), as little proves that those Apostles 
were not aware and thinking of them, as St. James's 
Epistle is an evidence that he did not hold the doctrine 
of the Atonement, which is not there mentioned. Ot 
consider how many passages there are in the history, in 
which some circumstance is omitted which one would 
expect to be inserted. For instance : St. Peter struck 
off the ear of Malchus when our Lord was seized. St. 
John gives the names ; St. Matthew and St. Mark re- 
late the occurrence without the names. This is com- 
monly explained on the ground that St. John, writing 
later than his brother Evangelists, and when all parties 
were dead, might give the names without exposing St. 
Peter, if indeed he was still alive, to any civil inconve- 
niences. True, this is an explanation so far ; but what 
explains their omitting, and St. John omitting, our 
Lord's miracle in healing the ear, while St. Luke re- 
lates it } Was not this to deliver a half account } is it 
not what would be called unnatural, if it were a ques- 
tion, not of history, but of doctrine ? 


Now let us review cases in which matters of doctrine, 
or the doctrinal tone of the composition, is in question. 
Is the tone of Scripture more unfavourable to the doctrine 
of a Priesthood than it is to the idea of Christianity, such 
as we have been brought up to regard it, — I mean of an 
established, endowed, dignified Church ; and, if its esta- 
blishment is not inconsistent (as it is not) with the New 
Testament, why should its mysticalness be } Certainly, 
if anything is plain, it is that Scripture represents the 
very portion of Christians, one and all, to be tribulation. 
want, contempt, persecution. I do not, — of course not. 

Impression made by Scripture Statements. 183 

far from it, — I do not say that the actual present state of 
the Church Cathohc and the text of the New Testament, 
are not reconcilable ; but is it not a fact, that the first 
impression from Scripture of what the Church should be, 
is not fulfilled in what we see around us ? 

Again : I suppose another impression which would be 
left on an unbiassed reader by the New Testament would 
be, that the world was soon to come to an end. Yet it 
has not. As, then, we submit to facts in one case, and 
do not exercise our so-called right of private judgment 
to quarrel with our own consciousness that we do live, 
and that the world does still go on, why should we not 
submit to facts in the other instance ? and if there be 
good proof that what the Church teaches is true, and is 
comformable to given texts of Scripture, in spite of this 
vague impression from its surface to the contrary, why 
should we not reconcile ourselves to the conclusion that 
that impression of its being opposed to a Sacramental or 
Priestly system is a false impression, is private and per- 
sonal, or peculiar to a particular age, untrustworthy, in 
fact false, just as the impression of its teaching that the 
world was soon to come to an end is false, because it has 
not been fulfilled ? 

Again : I suppose any one reading our Lord's dis- 
courses, would, with the Apostles, consider that the 
Gentiles, even if they were to be converted, yet were 
not to be on a level with the Jews. The impression 
His words convey is certainly such. But of this more 

Again : it is objected that little is said in the New 
Testament of the danger of sin after baptism, or of the 
penitential exercises by which it is to be remedied. 
Well : supposing it for argument's sake : yet let me ask 
the previous question. Is there much said in the New 

1 84 Scripture and the Creed 

Testament of the chance of sin after baptism at all ? 
Are not all Christians described as if in all important 
respects sinless ? Of course, falling away is spoken of, 
and excommunication ; but grievous sin has no distinct 
habitat among those who are " called to be saints " and 
members of the Church in the Epistles of St. Paul and 
St. John. Till we examJne Scripture on the subject, 
perhaps we have no adequate notion how little those 
Apostles contemplate recurring sin in the baptized. The 
argument then proves too much : for if silence proves 
anything, it will prove either that Christians who now 
live do not fall into gross sin, or that those who have so 
fallen have forfeited their Christianity. 

Again : the first three Gospels contain no declaration 
of our Lord's divinity, and there are passages which tend 
at first sight the other way. Now, is there one doctrine 
more than another the essential and characteristic of a 
Christian mind .■' Is it possible that the Evangelists 
could write any one particle of their records of His 
life, without having the great and solemn truth stead- 
fastly before them, that He was their God 1 Yet they 
do not show this. It follows, that truths may be in the 
mind of the inspired writers, which are not discoverable 
to ordinary readers in the tone of their composition. I 
by no means deny that, now we know the doctrine, 
we can gather proofs of it from the three Gospels in 
question, and can discern in them a feeling of reverence 
towards our Lord, which fully implies it ; but no one will 
say it is on the surface, and such as to strike a reader. 
I conceive the impression left on an ordinary mind would 
be, that our Saviour was a superhuman being, intimately 
possessed of God's confidence, but still a creature ; an 
impression infinitely removed from the truth as really 
contained and intended in those Gospels. 

Impression made by Scripture Statements. 1S5 

Again: is the tone of the Epistle of St, James the 
same as the tone of St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians ? 
or that of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans as that of the 
same Apostle's Epistle to the Hebrews t Might they 
not be as plausibly put in opposition with each other, 
as the Church system is made contrary to Scripture ? 

Again : consider what the texts are from which Cal- 
vinists are accustomed to argue, viz., such as speak 
of God's sovereign grace, without happening to make 
mention of man's responsibility. Thus : " He who has 
begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day 
of the Lord Jesus," and, " Who are kept by the power 
of God through faith unto salvation," are taken as irre- 
fragable arguments for final perseverance. If mention 
in Scripture of God's electing mercy need not exclude 
man's moral freedom, why need the stress laid in Scrip- 
ture upon faith and love exclude the necessity of sacra- 
ments as instruments of grace ? 

Again : if silence implies denial or ignorance of the 
things passed over ; if nothing is the sense of Scripture 
but what is openly declared ; if first impressions are 
everything, what are we to say to the Book of Canticles, 
which nowhere hints, (nor Scripture afterwards any- 
where hints either,) that it has a spiritual meaning } 
Either, then, the apparent tone of passages of Scripture 
is not the real tone, or the Canticles is not a sacred book. 

Again : is not the apparent tone of the Prophecies 
concerning Christ of a similarly twofold character, as is 
^own by the Jewish notion that there were to be two 
Messiahs, one suffering and one triumphant .-* 

Another illustration which deserves attention, lies in the 
impression which David's history in the Books of Samuel 
conveys, compared with that derived from the Chronicles 
and the Psalms. I am not speaking of verbal discrepan- 

1 86 Scripture and the Creed. 

cies or difficulties to be reconciled, — the subject which 
I have already discussed, — but of the tone of the narra- 
tive, and the impression thence made upon the reader ; 
and I think that it must be allowed that the idea which 
we have of David's character from the one document, is 
very different from that gained from the other two. In 
the Books of Samuel we have the picture of a monarch, 
bold, brave, generous, loyal, accomplished, attractive, and 
duly attached to the cause, and promoting the establish- 
ment, of the Mosaic law, but with apparently little per- 
manent and consistent personal religion; his character 
is sullied with many sins, and clouded with many sus- 
picions. But in the First Book of Chronicles, and in 
the Psalms, we are presented with the picture of a 
humble, tender, devotional, and deeply spiritual mind, 
detached from this world, and living on the thought and 
in the love of God. Is the impression derived from the 
New Testament more unfavourable to the Church 
system (admitting that it is unfavourable), than that of 
the Books of Samuel to David's personal holiness ? 


I just now reserved the doctrine of the admission of 
the Gentiles into the Church, for separate consideration ; 
let us now turn to it. Their call, certainly their equality 
with the Jews, was but covertly signified in our Lord's 
teaching. I think it is plainly there signified, though 
covertly ; but, if covertly, then the state of the evidence 
for the Catholicity of the Christian Church will lie in the 
same disadvantage in the Gospels as the state of the 
evidence for its ritual character in the Epistles ; and 
we may as well deny that the Church is Gentile, on the 
ground that our Lord but indirectly teaches it, as that 
it is sacramental on the ground that His Apostles indi- 

Impression viade by Scripture Statements. 187 

rectly teach it. It is objected that the Church system, 
the great Episcopal, Priestly, Sacramental system, was 
an after-thought, a corruption coming upon the sim- 
plicity of the primitive and Apostolic religion. The 
primitive religion, it is said was more simple. More 
simple ! Did objectors never hear that there have been 
unbelievers who have written to prove that Christ's 
religion was more simple than St. Paul's — that St. Paul's 
Epistles are a second system coming upon the three Gos- 
pels and changing their doctrine } Have we never heard 
that some have considered the doctrine of our Lord's 
Divinity to be an addition upon the "simplicity" of the 
Gospels .'' Yes : this has been the belief not only of 
heretics, as the Socinians, but of infidels, such as the 
historian Gibbon, who looked at things with less of pre- 
judice than heretics, as having no point to maintain. I 
think it will be found quite as easy to maintain that the 
Divinity of Christ was an after-thought, brought in by 
the Greek Platonists and other philosophers, upon the 
simple and primitive creed of the Galilean fishermen, as 
infidels say, as that the Sacramental system came in 
from the same source as rationalists say. — But to return 
to the point before us. Let it be considered whether a 
very plausible case might not be made out by way of 
proving that our Blessed Lord did not contemplate the 
evangelizing of the heathen at all, but that it was an 
after-thought, when His Apostles began to succeed, and 
their ambitious hopes to rise. 

If texts from the Gospels are brought to show that 
it was no after-thought, such as the mustard-seed, or the 
labourers of the vineyard, which imply the calling and 
conversion of the Gentiles, and the implication contained 
in His discourse at Nazareth concerning the miracles of 
Elijah and Elisha wrought upon Gentiles, and His signi- 

1 88 Set ipture a?id the Creed. 

ficant acts, such as His complying with the prayer of the 
Canaanitish woman, and His condescension towards the 
centurion, and, above all, His final command to go into all 
the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, " and 
to go teach all nations, baptizing them ;" still it may be 
asked, Did not the Apostles hear our Lord, and what 
was their impression from what they heard ? Is it not 
certain that the Apostles did not gather this command 
from His teaching ? So far is certain : and it is certain 
that none of us will deny that nevertheless that command 
comes from Him. Well then, it is plain, that important 
things may be in Scripture, yet not brought out : is 
there then any reason why we should be more clear- 
sighted as regards another point of doctrine, than the 
Apostles were as regards this ? I ask this again : Is 
there any reason that we, who have not heard Christ 
speak, should have a clearer apprehension of the meaning 
of His recorded discourses on a given point, than the 
Apostles who did ? and if it be said that we have now 
the gift of the Holy Spirit, which the Apostles had not 
during our Lord's earthly ministry, then I ask again, where 
is there any promise that we, as individuals, should be 
brought by His gracious influences into the perfect truth 
by merely employing ourselves on the text of Scripture 
by ourselves ? However, so far is plain, that a doctrine 
which we see to be plainly contained, nay necessarily 
presupposed, in our Lord's teaching, did not so impress 
itself on the Apostles. 

These thoughts deserve consideration ; but what I was 
coming to in particular is this ; I wish you to turn in 
your mind such texts as the following : " Ye shall be 
witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judsea 
and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earthy 
An objector would say that " the uttermost part of the 

Impression made by Scripture Statements, 189 

earth" ought to be translated "uttermost part of the 
land" — that is, the Holy Land. And he would give this 
reason to confirm it. " How very unlikely that the 
whole of the world, except Judaea, should be straitened up 
into one clause ! Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, mentioned 
distinctly, and the whole world brought under one 
word!" And I suppose the Apostles did at the time 
understand the sentence to mean only the Holy Land. 
Certainly they did not understand it to imply the abso- 
lute and immediate call of the Gentiles as mere Gentiles. 
You will say that such texts as Luke xxiv. 47, are 
decisive : " that repentance and remission of sins should 
be preached in His Name among all nations, beginning 
at Jerusalem." Far from it ; as men nowadays argue, 
they would say it was not safe to rely on such texts. 
Among all nations :" '^ into ox i*^ all nations," this need 
not mean more than that the Jews in those nations 
should be converted. The Jews were scattered about in 
those days ; the Messiah was to collect them together. 
This text speaks of His doing so, according to the 
prophecies, wherever they were scattered. To this, the 
question of the populace relates, " Whither will He go 
that we shall not find Him } will He go unto the dis- 
persed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles " * or 
Greek Jews ? And St. John's announcement also, that 
He died " not for that nation only, but that also He 
should gather together in one the children of God that 
were scattered abroad."t And St. Peter's address " to 
the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cap- 
padocia, Asia, and Bithynia." And especially on the 
day of Pentecost, when the same Apostle addressed the 
Jews, devout men dwelling at Jerusalem, out of every 
nation under heaven.":}: 

• Jclin vl 35. t lb. xi. 51. 52. % Acts ii. ,5, 

I go Scripture and the Creed. 

Again : if the words " preach the Gospel to every 
creature," were insisted on, an objector might say that 
creature or creation does not mean all men any more 
than it includes all animals or all Angels, but one part 
of the creation, the elect, the Jews.* 

Here then are instances of that same concise and 
indirect mode of stating important doctrine in half 
sentences, or even words, which is supposed to be an 
objection to the peculiar Church doctrines only. For 
instance, it is objected that the sacred truth of the pro- 
cession of the Holy Ghost from the Father, is only con- 
tained in the words, " the Spirit of Truth, which, proceedeth 
rom the Father :"t the co-equality of the Son to the 
Father, in the phrase, " who being in the form of God, 
thought it not robbery to be equal with God," and in the 
Jews' inference from our Lord's words, " He said that 
God was His Father, making Himself equal with God."J 
The doctrine of original sin depends on a few implica- 
tions such as this, '' Asm Adam all die, even so in Christ 
shall all be made alive," § And in like manner the 
necessity of the Holy Eucharist for salvation, upon the 
sixth chapter of St. John, in which the subject of Christ's 
flesh and blood is mentioned, but not a word expressly 
concerning that Sacrament, which as yet was future. So 
also, I Cor. x. i6, " The cup of blessing," etc., is almost a 
parenthesis : and the ministerial power of Absolution 
depends on our Lord's words to His Apostles, " Whoseso- 
ever sins ye remit," \ etc. ; and the doctrine of the Chris- 
tian Altar, upon such words as, " If thou bring thy gift 
to the Altar," etc. Now I say all these are paralleled by 
the mode in which our Lord taught the call of the 
Gentiles : He said, " Preach the Gospel to every crea- 

• Vide Rom. viii. 19. § I Cor. xv. 22. 

f John XV. 26. II John xx. 23. 

X Philip, ii. 6 ; John v. 18. 

Impresuon made by Scripture Statements. 191 

ture." These words need have only meant, " Bring all 
men to Christianity through Judaism :" make them 
Jews, that they may enjoy Christ's privileges, which 
are lodged in Judaism ; teach them those rites and cere- 
monies, circumcision and the like, which hereto have 
been dead ordinances, and now are living : and so the 
Apostles seem to have understood them. Yet they 
meant much more than this ; that Jews were to have no 
precedence of the Gentiles, but the one and the other to 
be on a level. It is quite plain that our Saviour must 
have had this truth before His mind, if we may so speak, 
when He said, " Preach to every creature." Yet the 
words did not on the surface mean all this. As then 
they meant more than they need have been taken to 
mean, so the words, " I am with you alway," or, " Re- 
ceive ye the Holy Ghost," may mean much more than 
they need mean ; and the early Church may, in God's 
providence, be as really intended to bring out and settle 
the meaning of the latter, as St Peter at Joppa, and St. 
Paul on his journeys, to bring out the meaning of the 

To this there are other parallels. For instance : who 
would have conceived that the doctrine of the Resur- 
rection of the Dead lay hid in the words, " I am the God 
of Abraham," etc. } Why may not the doctrines con- 
cerning the Church lie hid in repositories which certainly 
are less recondite ? Why may not the Church herself, 
who is called the pillar and ground of the Truth, be the 
appointed interpreter of the doctrines about herself.? 

Again : consider how much is contained, and how 
covertly, in our Saviour's words, "But ye are clean, but 
not all;" — or in His riding on an ass, and not saying 
why; or in His saying "Destroy this Temple," when 
" He spoke of the Temple of His Body." Let it be 

192 Scripture and the Creed. 

borne in mind, that a figurative, or, what may be called 
a sacramental style, was the very characteristic of oriental 
teaching ; so that it would have been a wilful disrespect 
in any hearer who took the words of a great prophet 
in their mere literal and outside sense. 

Here, too, the whole subject of prophecy might be 
brought in. What doctrine is more important than that 
of the miraculous conception of our Lord .-• Yet how is 
it declared in prophecy ? Isaiah said to Ahaz, " Behold, a 
Virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His 
Name Immanuel." The first meaning of these words 
seems not at all to allude to Christ, but to an event of 
the day. The great Gospel doctrine is glanced at (as we 
may say) through this minor event. 


These remarks surely suffice on this subject, viz., to 
show that the impression we gain from Scripture need 
not be any criterion or any measure of its true and full 
sense ; that solemn and important truths may be silently 
taken for granted, or alluded to in a half sentence, or 
spoken of indeed, yet in such unadorned language that we , 
may fancy we see through it, and see nothing ; — pecu- 
liarities of Scripture which result from what is the peculiar 
character of its teaching, simplicity and depth. Yet even 
without taking into account these peculiarities, it is obvi- 
ous, from what meets us daily in the course of life, how 
insufficient a test is the surface of any one composition, 
conversation, or transaction, of the full circle of opinions 
of its author. How different persons are, when we know 
them, from what they appeared to us in their writings ! 
how many opinions do they hold, which we did not ex- 
pect in them ! how many practices and ways have they, 
how many peculiarities, how many tastes, which we did 

Impressions made by Sc7^ipture Statements. 193 

not imar^ine ! I will give an illustration ; — that great 
philosopher, Bp. Butler, has written a book, as we know, 
on the Analogy of Religion. It is distinguished by a 
grave, profound, and severe style ; and apparently is not 
the work of a man of lively or susceptible mind. Now 
we know from his history, that, when Bishop, he put up 
a Cross in his chapel at Bristol. Could a reader have 
conjectured this from that work .-' At first sight would 
it not have startled one who knew nothing of him but 
from that work.? I do not ask whether, on consideration, 
he would not find it fell in with his work ; of course it 
would, if his philosophy were consistent with itself ; but 
certainly it is not on the surface of his work. Now 
might not we say that his work contained the wliole of 
his philosophy, and yet say that the use of the Cross was 
one of his usages f In like manner we may say that the 
Bible is the whote of the Divine Revelation, and yet the 
use of the Cross a divine usage. 

But this is not all. Some small private books of his 
are extant, containing a number of every-day matters, 
such as of course one could not expect to be able to con- 
jecture from his great work ; I mean, matters of ordinary 
and almost household life. Yet those who have seen 
these papers are likely to feel a surprise that they 
should be Butler's. I do not say that they can give 
any reason why they should not be so ; but the notion 
we form of any one whom we have not seen, will ever 
be in its details very different from the true one. 

Another series of illustrations might be drawn from 
the writings of the ancients. Those who are acquainted 
with the Greek historians know well that they, and par- 
ticularly the gravest and severest of them, relate events 
so simply, calmly, unostentatiously, that an ordinary 
reader does not recognize v/hat events are great and 

V 13 

1 94 Scripture and the Creed. 

what little ; and on turning to some modern history 
in which they are commented on, will find to his sur- 
prise that a battle or a treaty, which was despatched in 
half a line by the Greek author, is perhaps the turning- 
point of the whole history, and was certainly known by 
him to be so. Here is the case of the gospels, with 
this difference, that they are unsystematic compositions, 
whereas the Greek historians profess to be methodical. 

Again : instances might easily be given of the silence 
of contemporary writers, Greek or Roman, as to great 
events of their time, when they might be expected to 
notice them ; a silence which has even been objected 
against the fact of those events having occurred, yet, in 
the judgment of the mass of well-informed men, without 
any real cogency. 

Again : as to Greek poetry, philosophy, and oratory, 
how severe and unexceptionable is it for the most part ; 
yet how impure and disgraceful was the Greek daily 
life ! Who shows a more sober and refined majesty 
than Sophocles .-' yet to him Pericles addressed the 
rebuke recorded in the first book of Cicero's Offices.* 


I conclude with two additional remarks, I have been 
arguing that Scripture is a deep book, and that the pecu- 
liar doctrines concerning the Church, contained in the 
Prayer Book, are in its depths. Now let it be remarked 
in corroboration, first, that the early Church always did 
consider Scripture to be what I have been arguing that 
it is from its structure, — viz., a book with very recondite 
meanings ; this they considered, not merely with refer- 
ence to its teaching the particular class of doctrines in 
question, but as regards its entire teaching. They con- 

• i. 40. 

Impressions made by Scripture Statements. 195 

sldered that it was full of mysteries. Therefore, saying 
that Scripture has deep meanings, is not an hypothesis 
invented to meet this particular difficulty, that the Church 
doctrines are not on its surface, but is an acknowledged 
principle of interpretation independent of it. 

Secondly, it is also certain that the early Church did 
herself conceal these same Church doctrines. I am not 
determining whether or not all her writers did so, or all her 
teachers, or at all times, but merely that, viewing that 
early period as a whole, there is on the whole a great 
secrecy observed in it concerning such doctrines (for 
instance) as the Trinity and the Eucharist ; that is, the 
early Church did the very thing which I have been sup- 
posing Scripture does, — conceal high truths. To suppose 
that Scripture conceals them, is not an hypothesis in- 
vented to meet the difficulty arising from the fact that they 
are not on the surface; for the early Church, independent 
of that alleged difficulty, did herself in her own teaching 
conceal them. This is a second very curious coinci- 
dence. If the early Church had reasons for concealment, 
it may be that Scripture has the same ; especially if we 
suppose, — what at the very least is no very improbable 
idea, — that the system of the early Church is a continua- 
tion of the system of those inspired men who wrote the 
New Testament, 



External Difficulties of the Canon and the Catholic 
Creed, compared. 

I AM now proceeding to a subject which will in some 
little degree take me beyond the bounds which I 
had proposed to myself when I began, but which, being 
closely connected with that subject, and (as I think) 
important, has a claim on our attention. The argument 
which has been last engaging us is this : Objection is 
made to the indirectness of the evidence from Scripture 
on which the peculiar Church doctrines are proved ; — I 
have answered, that sacred Jiistory is for the most part 
marked by as much apparent inconsistency, as recorded 
in one part of Scripture and another, as there is incon- 
sistency as regards doctrine in the respective informa- 
tions of Scripture and the Church ; one event being told 
us here, another there ; so that we have to compare, 
compile, reconcile, adjust. As then we do not complain 
of the history being conveyed in distinct, and at times 
conflicting, documents, so too we have no fair reason for 
<:omplaining of the obscurities and intricacies under 
A'hich doctrine is revealed through its two channels. 

I then went on to answer in a similar way the objec- 
tion, that Scripture was contrary to the teaching of the 
Church (j.e., to our Prayer Book), not only in specific 
statements, but in tone ; for I showed that what we call 
the tone of Scripture, or the impression it makes on the 
reader, varies so very much according to the reader, 

External Difficulties of Canon and Creed. 197 

that little stress can be laid upon it, and that its 
tone and the impression it makes would tell against a 
variety of other points undeniably true and firmly held 
by us, quite as much as against the peculiar Church 

In a word, it is as easy to show that Scripture has no 
contents at all, or next to none, as that it does not con- 
tain the special Church doctrines — I mean, the objection 
which is brought against the Apostolical Succession or the 
Priesthood being in Scripture, tells against the instruction 
and information conveyed in Scripture generally. But 
now I am going to a further point, which has been inci- 
dentally touched on, that this same objection is preju- 
dicial not only to the Revelation, whatever it is, contained 
in Scripture, but to the text of Scripture itself, to the 
books of Scripture, to their canonicity, to their authority. 
I have said, the line of reasoning entered on in this ob- 
jection may be carried forward, and, if it reaches one 
point, may be made to reach others also. For, first, if the 
want of method and verbal consistency in Scripture be 
an objection to the " teaching of the Prayer Book," it is 
also an objection equally to what is called " Orthodox 
Protestantism." Further, I have shown that it tells also 
against the trustworthiness of the sacred history, to the 
statement of facts contained in any part of Scripture, which 
is in great measure indirect. And now, lastly, I shall show 
that it is an objection to the Bible itself, both because 
that Book cannot be a Revelation which contains neither 
definite doctrine nor unequivocal matter of fact, and next 
because the evidence, on which its portions are received, is 
not clearer or fuller than its own evidence for the facts 
and doctrines which our Article says it " contains." This 
is the legitimate consequence of the attempt to invalidate 
the scripturalness of Catholic doctrine, on the allegation 

198 Scripiure and the Creed 

of its want of Scripture proof — an invalidating of Scrip- 
ture itself; this is the conclusion to which both the 
argument itself, and the temper of mind which belongs 
to it, will assuredly lead those who use it, at least in the 
long run. 

There is another objection which is sometimes at- 
tempted against Church doctrines, which may be met in 
the same way. It is sometimes strangely maintained, 
not only that Scripture does not clearly teach them, but 
that the Fathers do not clearly teach them ; that nothing 
can be drawn for certain from the Fathers ; that their 
evidence leaves matters pretty much as it found them, as 
being inconsistent with itself, or of doubtful authority. 
This part of the subject has not yet been considered, 
and will come into prominence as we proceed with the 
present argument. 

I purpose, then, now to enlarge on this point ; that is, 
to show that those who object to Church doctrines, 
whether from deficiency of Scripture proof or of Patris- 
tical proof, ought, if they acted consistently on their 
principles, to object to the canonicity and authority of 
Scripture ; a melancholy truth, if it be a truth; and I 
fear it is but too true. Too true, I fear, it is in fact, — 
not only that men ought, if consistent, to proceed from 
opposing Church doctrine to oppose the authority of 
Scripture, but that the leaven which at present makes 
the mind oppose Church doctrine, does set it, or will soon 
set it, against Scripture. I wish to declare what I think 
will be found really to be the case, viz., that a battle for 
the Canon of Scripture is but the next step after a battle 
for the Creed, — that the Creed comes first in the assault, 
that is all ; and that if we were not defending the Creed, 
we should at this moment be defending the Canon. 
Nay, I would predict as a coming event, that minds are 

External Difficulties of Canon and Creed. 199 

to he unsettled as to what is Scripture and what is not ; 
and I predict it that, as far as the voice of one person in 
one place can do, I may defeat my own prediction by 
making it. Now to consider the subject. 


How do we know that the whole Bible is the word of 
God ? Happily at present we are content to believe 
this, because we have been so taught. It is our great 
blessedness to receive it on faith. A believing spirit is 
in all cases a more blessed spirit than an unbelieving. 
The testimony of unbelievers declares it : they often say, 
" I wish I could believe ; I should be happier, if I could ; 
but my reason is unconvinced." And then they go on 
to speak as if they were in a more exalted, though less 
happy state of mind. Now I am not here to enter into 
the question of the grounds on which the duty and 
blessedness of believing rest ; but I would observe, that 
Nature certainly does give sentence against scepticism, 
against doubt, nay, against a habit (I say a habit) of 
inquiry, against a critical, cold, investigating temper, the 
temper of what are called shrewd, clear-headed, hard- 
headed, men, in that, by the confession of all, happiness 
is attached, not to their temper, but rather to confiding, 
unreasoning faith. I do not say that inquiry may not 
under circumstances be a duty, as going into the cold 
and rain may be a duty, instead of stopping at home, — 
as serving in war may be a duty ; but it does seem to me 
preposterous to confess, that free inquiry leads to scep- 
ticism, and scepticism makes one less happy than faith, 
and yet, that such free inquiry is a merit. What is right 
and what is happy cannot in the long run and on a large 
scale be disjoined. To follow after truth can never be a 
subject of regret ; free inquiry does lead a man to regret 

200 Scripture and the Creed. 

the days of his childHke faith ; therefore it is not follow- 
ing after truth. Those who measure everything by utility, 
should on their own principles embrace the obedience of 
faith for its very expedience; and they should cease 
this kind of seeking, which begins in doubt. 

I say, then, that never to have been troubled with a 
doubt about the truth of what has been taught us, is the 
happiest state of mind ; and if any one says, that to 
maintain this is to admit that heretics ought to remain 
heretics, and pagans pagans, I deny it. For I have not 
said that it is a happy thing never to add to what you 
have, but that it is not happier to take away. Now true 
religion is the summit and perfection of false religions : 
it combines in one whatever there is of good and true, 
severally remaining in each. And in like manner the 
Catholic Creed is for the most part the combination of 
separate truths which heretics have divided among them- 
selves, and err in dividing. So that, in matter of fact, if 
a religious mind were educated in and sincerely attached 
to some form of heathenism or heresy, and then were 
brought under the light of truth, it would be drawn off 
from error into the truth, not by losing what it had, but 
by gaining what it had not, — not by being unclothed, 
but by being " clothed upon," " that mortality may be 
swallowed up of life." That same principle of faith 
which attaches it to its original human teaching, would 
attach it to the truth ; and that portion of its original 
teaching which was to be cast off as absolutely false, 
would not be directly rejected, but indirectly rejected 
in the reception of the truth which is its opposite. True 
conversion is of a positive, not a negative character. 
This was St. Paul's method of controversy at Athens ; 
and, if Apologists after him were wont to ridicule the 
heathen idolatries, it must be considered that belief in 

External Difficulties of Canon and Creed. 20 r 

the popular mythology was then dying out, and was 
ridiculed by the people themselves. 

All this is a digression : but before returning to my 
subject, I will just add, that it must not be supposed 
from my expressing such sentiments, that I have any 
fear of argument for the cause of Christian truth, as 
if reason were dangerous to it, as if it co.uld not stand 
before a scrutinizing inquiry. Nothing is more out of 
place, though it is too common, than such a charge 
against the defenders of Church doctrines. They may 
be right or they may be wrong in their arguments, but 
argue they do ; they are ready to argue ; they believe 
they have reason on their side ; but they remind others, 
they remind themselves, that though argument on the 
whole will but advance the cause of truth, though so far 
from dreading it, they are conscious it is a great weapon 
in their hands ; yet that, after all, if a man does nothing 
more than argue, if he has nothing deeper at bottom, if 
he does not seek God by some truer means, by obedi- 
ence, by faith prior to demonstration, he will either not 
attain truth, or attain a shallow, unreal view of it, and 
have a weak grasp of it. Reason will prepare for the 
reception, will spread the news, and secure the outward 
recognition of the truth ; but in all we do we ought to 
seek edification, not mere knowledge. Now to return. 

I say, it is our blessedness, if we have no doubts about 
the Canon of Scripture, as it is our blessedness to have 
no doubts about the Catholic Creed. And this is at 
present actually our blessedness as regards the Canon ; 
we have no doubts. Even those persons who unhappily 
have doubts about the Church system, have no doubts 
about the Canon, — by a happy inconsistency, / say. 
They ought to have doubts on their principles ; this I 
shall now show, in the confidence that their belief in the 

202 Scripluj'e a7id the Creed. 

Canon is so much stronger than their disbelief of the 
Church system, that if they must change their position, 
they will rather go on and believe the Church system, 
than go back to disbelieve the Canon. 


Now there are two chief heads of objection made against 
the Catholic or Church system of doctrine and worship,— 
external and internal. It is said, on the one hand, to be 
uncertain, not only what is in Scripture, but what is in 
Antiquity, and what not ; for the early Fathers, it is 
objected, who are supposed to convey the information, 
contradict each other ; and the most valuable and volu- 
minous of them did not live till two or three hundred 
years after St. John's death, while the earlier records are 
scanty ; and moreover that their view of doctrine was 
from the first corrupted from assignable external sources, 
pagan, philosophical, or Jewish. And on the other hand, 
the system itself may be accused of being contrary to 
reason and incredible. Here I shall consider the former 
of these two objections. 

Objectors, then, speak thus : " We are far from deny- 
ing," they say, "that there is truth and value in the 
ancient Catholic system, as reported by the Fathers ; 
but we deny that it is unmixed truth. We consider it is 
truth and error mixed together : we do not see why the 
system of doctrine must be taken together as a whole, 
so that if one part is true, all is true. We consider that 
we have a right to take it piecemeal, and examine each 
part by itself; that so far as it is true, it is true not as 
belonging to the ancient system, but for other reasons, 
as being agreeable to our reason, or to our understand- 
ing of Scripture, not because stated by the Fathers ; 
and, after all, the Church system in question (that is, 

External Difficulties of Cayion and Creed. 203 

such doctrines as the mystical power of the Sacraments. 
the power of the keys, the grace of Ordination, the gifts 
of the Church, and the Apostohcal Succession), has very 
little authority really primitive. The Fathers whose works 
we have, not only ought to be of an earlier date, in order 
to be of authority, but they contradict each other ; they de- 
clare what is incredible and absurd, and what can reason- 
ably be ascribed to Platonism, or Judaism, or Paganism." 
Be it so : well, how will the same captious spirit treat 
the sacred Canon 1 in just the same way. It will begin 
thus : — " These many writings are put together in one 
book ; what makes them one } who put them together ? 
the printer. The books of Scripture have been printed 
together for many centuries. But that does not make 
them one ; what authority had those who put them to- 
gether to do so ? what authority to put just so many 
books, neither more nor less .-' when were they first so 
put together.-* on what authority do we leave out the 
Wisdom, or the Son of Sirach, and insert the book of 
Esther ? Catalogues certainly are given of these books 
in early times : but not exactly the same books are 
enumerated in all. The language of St. Austin is 
favourable to the admission of the Apocrypha.* The 
Latin Church anciently left out the Epistle to the He- 
brews, and the Eastern Church left out the book of 
Revelation. This so-called Canon did not exist at ear- 
liest till the fourth century, between two and three 
hundred years after St. John's death. Let us then see 
into the matter with our own eyes. Why should not we 
be as good judges as the Church of the fourth century, 
on whose authority we receive it .-' Why should one 
book be divine, because another is .-' " This is what ob- 
jectors would say. Now to follow them into particulars 

• De Doctr. Christ., ii- 13. 

204 Scripture and the Creed. 

as far as the first head ; viz., as to tlie evidence itself, 
which is offered in belialf of the divinity and inspiration 
of the separate books. 

For instance ; the first Father who expressly men- 
tions Commemorations for the Dead in Christ (such as 
we still have in substance at the end of the prayer for 
the Church Militant, where it was happily restored in 
1662, having been omitted a century earlier), is Tertul- 
lian, about a hundred years after St. John's death. 
This, it is said, is not authority early enough to prove 
that that Ordinance is Apostolical, though succeeding 
Fathers, Origen, St. Cyprian, Eusebius, St. Cyril of 
Jerusalem, etc., bear witness to it ever so strongly. 
" Errors might have crept in by that time ; mistakes 
might have been made ; Tertullian is but one man, and 
confessedly not sound in many of his opinions ; we 
ought to have clearer and more .decisive evidence." 
Well, supposing it : suppose Tertullian, a hundred years 
after St. John, is the first that mentions it, yet Tertullian 
is also the first who refers to St. Paul's Epistle to Phile- 
mon, and even he without quoting or naming it. He is 
followed by two writers ; one of Rome, Caius, whose 
work is not extant, but is referred to by Eusebius, who, 
speaking of thirteen Epistles of St. Paul, and as excluding 
the Hebrews, by implication includes that to Philemon ; 
and the other, Origen, who quotes the fourteenth verse 
of the Epistle, and elsewhere speaks o{ fourteen Epistles 
of St. Paul. Next, at the end of the third century, 
follows Eusebius. Further, St. Jerome observes, that in 
his time some persons doubted whether it was St. Paul's 
(just as Aerius about that time questioned the Com- 
memorations for the Dead), or at least whether it was 
canonical, and that from internal evidence ; to which he 
opposes the general consent of external testimony as a 

External Difficulties of Canon aiid Creed. 205 

sufficient answer. Now, I ask, why do we receive the 
Epistle to Philemon as St. Paul's, and not the Com- 
memorations for the faithful departed as Apostolical 
also ? Ever after indeed the date of St. Jerome, the 
Epistle to Philemon was accounted St. Paul's, and so 
too ever after the same date the Commemorations which 
I have spoken of are acknowledged on all hands to have 
been observed as a religious duty, down to three hun- 
dred years ago. If it be said that from historical records 
we have good reasons for thinking that the Epistle of St. 
Paul to Philemon, with his other Epistles, was read from 
time immemorial in Church, which is a witness indepen- 
dent of particular testimonies in the Fathers, I answer, 
no evidence can be more satisfactory and conclusive to a 
well-judging mind ; but then it is a moral evidence, rest- 
ing on very little formal and producible proof; and 
quite as much evidence can be given for the solemn 
Commemorations of the Dead in the Holy Eucharist 
which I speak of They too were in use in the Church 
from time immemorial. Persons, then, who have the 
heart to give up and annul the Ordinance, will not, if 
they are consistent, scruple much at the Epistle. If in 
the sixteenth century the innovators on religion had 
struck the Epistle to Philemon out of Scripture, they 
would have had just as much right to do it as to abolish 
these Commemorations ; and those who wished to defend 
such innovation as regards the Epistle to Philemon, 
would have had just as much to say in its behalf as those 
had who put an end to the Commemorations. 

If it be said they found nothing on the subject of such 
Commemorations in Scripture, even granting this for ar- 
gument's sake, yet I wonder where they found in Scrip- 
ture that the Epistle to Philemon was written by St. 
Paul, except indeed in the Epistle itself. Nowhere ; yet 

206 Scripture and the Creed. 

they kept the one, they abolished the other — as far, that 
is, as human tyranny could abolish it. Let us be thank- 
ful that they did not also say, "The Epistle to Philemon 
is of a private nature, and has no marks of inspiration 
about it. It is not mentioned by name or quoted bj 
any writer till Origen, who flourished at a time when 
mistakes had begun, in the third century, and who 
actually thinks St. Barnabas wrote the Epistle which 
goes under his name ; and he too, after all, just men- 
tions it once, but not as inspired or canonical, and also 
just happens to speak elsewhere of St. Paul's fourteen 
Epistles. In the beginning of the fourth century, Euse- 
bius, without anywhere naming this Epistle," (as far as 
I can discover,) " also speaks of fourteen Epistles, and 
speaks of a writer one hundred years earlier, who in like 
manner enumerated thirteen besidts the Hebrews. All 
this is very unsatisfactory. We will have nothing but 
the pure word of God ; we will only admit what has the 
clearest proof. It is impossible that God should require 
us to believe a book to come from Him without authen- 
ticating it with the highest and most cogent evidence." 

Again : the early Church with one voice testifies in 
favour of Episcopacy, as an ordinance especially pleas- 
ing to God, Ignatius, the very disciple of the Apostles, 
speaks in the clearest and strongest terms ; and those 
who follow fully corroborate his statements for three or 
four hundred years. And besides this, we know the fact, 
that a succession of Bishops from the Apostles did exist 
in all the Churches all that time. At the end of that 
time, one Father, St. Jerome, in writing controversially, 
had some strong expressions against the divine origin of 
the ordinance. And this is all that can be said in favour 
of any other regimen. Now, on the other hand, what is 
the case as regards the Epistle to the Hebrews ? Though 

External Difficulties of Canon and Creed. 207 

received in the East, it was not received in the Latin 
Churches, till that same St. Jerome's time. St. Irenaeus 
either does not affirm or actually denies that it is St. 
Paul's. TertuUian ascribes it to St. Barnabas. Caius ex- 
cluded it from his list. St. Hippolytus does not receive it. 
St. Cyprian is silent about it. It is doubtful whether St. 
Optatus received it. Now, that this important Epistle 
is part of the inspired word of God, there is no doubt. 
But why } Because the testimony of the fourth and 
fifth centuries, when Christians were at leisure to ex- 
amine the question thoroughly, is altogether in its favour. 
I know of no other reason, and I consider this to be 
quite sufficient : but with what consistency do persons 
receive this Epistle as inspired, yet deny that Episcopacy 
is a divinely ordained means of grace ? 

Again : the Epistles to the Thessalonians are quoted 
by six writers in the first two hundred years from St. 
John's death ; first, at the end of the first hundred, by 
three Fathers, Irenaeus, Clement, and TertuUian ; and 
are by implication acknowledged in the lost work of 
Caius, at the same time, and are in Origen's list some 
years after. On the other hand, the Lord's table is 
always called an Altar, and is called a Table only in one 
single passage of a single Father, during the first three 
centuries. It is called Altar in four out of the seven 
Epistles of St. Ignatius. It is called Altar by St. Clemen* 
of Rome, by St. Irenjieus, TertuUian, St. Cyprian, Origen, 
Eusebius, St. Athanasius, St. Ambrose, St. Gregory 
Nazianzen, St. Optatus, St. Jerome, St. Chrysostom, 
and St. Austin.* It is once called Table by St. Diony- 

• It is perhaps unnecessary to say that the sense of the word Altar (^utrta- 
(iri]pi.oti) in some of these passages has been contested ; as it has been con- 
tested whether the Fathers' works arc genuine, or the Books of Scripture 
genuine, or its text free from interpolations. There is no one spot in tlie 

2o8 Scripture and tJie Ci^ecd. 

sius of Alexandria. (Johnson's U. S., vol. i., p. 306.) I 
do not know on what ground we admit the Epistles to 
the Thessalonians to be the writing of St. Paul, yet deny- 
that the use of Altars is Apostolic. 

Again : that the Eucharist is a Sacrifice is declared or 
implied by St. Clement of Rome, St. Paul's companion, 
by St. Justin, by St. Irenaeus, by Tcrtullian, by St. 
Cyprian, and others. On the other hand, the Acts of 
the Apostles are perhaps alluded to by St. Polycarp, but 
are first distinctly noticed by St. Irenaeus, then by three 
writers who came soon after (St. Clement of Alexandria, 
Tertullian, and the Letter from the Church of Lyons), 
and then not till the end of the two hundred years from 
St. John's death. Which has the best evidence, the Book 
of Acts, or the doctrine of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.'' 

Again : much stress, as I have said, is laid by objectors 
on the fact that there is so little evidence concerning 
Catholic doctrine in the very first years of Christianity. 
Now, how does this objection stand, as regards the Canon 
of the New Testament .-• The New Testament consists of 
twenty-seven books in all, though of varying import- 
ance. Of these, fourteen are not mentioned at all till 
from eighty to one hundred years after St. John's death, 
in which number are the Acts, the Second to the Co- 
rinthians, the Galatians, the Colossians, the Two to the 

territory of theology but has been the scene of a battle. Anything has been 
ventured and believed in the heat of controversy ; but the ultimate appeal 
in such cases is the common sense of mankind. Ignatius says, " Be diligent 
to use one Eucharist, for there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and 
one cup for the union of His Blood ; one Altar, as one Bishop, together 
with the Presbytery and deacons, my fellow-servants ." — Ad Phil. 4. Would 
it have entered into any one's mind, were it not for the necessities of his 
theory, to take Eucharist, Flesh, Cup, Blood, Bishop, Presbytery, Deacon, 
in their ecclesiastical meaning, as belonging to the Visible Church, and the 
one word A^tar figuratively ? 

External Difficulties of Ca7ion and C'i^efd. 209 

Thessalonians, and St. James. Of the other thirteen, 
five, viz., St. John's Gospel, the Philippians, the First of 
Timothy, the Hebrews, and the First of John, are quoted 
but by one writer during the same period. Lastly, St. 
Irenaeus, at the close of the second century, quotes all 
the books of the New Testament but five, and deservedly 
stands very high as a witness. Now, why may not so 
learned and holy a man, and so close on the Apostles, 
stand also as a witness of some doctrines which he takes 
for granted, as the invisible but real Presence in the 
Holy Eucharist, the use of Catholic tradition in ascer- 
taining revealed truth, and the powers committed to the 
Church ? 

If men then will indulge that eclectic spirit which 
chooses part and rejects part of the primitive Church 
system, I do not see what is to keep them from choosing 
part and rejecting part of the Canon of Scripture. 


There are books, which sin as it would be in us 
to reject^ I think any candid person would grant are 
presented to us under circumstances less promising than 
those which attend upon the Church doctrines. Take, 
for instance, the Book of Esther. This book is not 
quoted once in the New Testament. It was not admitted 
as canonical by two considerable Fathers, Melito and 
Gregory Nazianzen. It contains no prophecy ; it has 
nothing on the surface to distinguish it from a mera 
ordinary history ; nay, it has no mark on the surface of 
its even being a religious history. Not once does it 
mention the name of God or Lord, or any other name 
by which the God of Israel is designated. Again, when 
we inspect its contents, it cannot be denied that there are 
things in it which at first sight startle us, and make de- 


2 1 Scriptiux and the Creed. 

mands on our faith. Why then do we receive it ? Be- 
cause we have good reason from tradition to beHeve it to 
be one of those which our Lord intended, when He spoke 
of " the prophets," * 

In hke manner the Book of Ecclesiastes contains no 
prophecy, is referred to in no part of the New Testament, 
and contains passages which at first sight are starthng. 
Again : that most sacred Book, called the Song of Songs, 
or Canticles, is a continued type from beginning to end. 
Nowhere in Scripture, as I have already observed, are 
we told that it is a type ; nowhere is it hinted that it is 
not to be understood literally. Yet it is only as having 
a deeper and hidden sense, that we are accustomed to 
see a religious purpose in it. Moreover, it is not quoted 
or alluded to once all through the New Testament. It 
contains no prophecies. Why do we consider it divine ? 
For the same reason ; because tradition informs us that 
in our Saviour's time it was included under the title of 
"the Psalms": and our Saviour, in St. Luke's Gospel, 
refers to "the Law, the Prophets, and tlie Psalms." 

Objections as plausible, though different, might be 
urged against the Epistles of St. James, St. Jude, the 
Second of St. Peter, the Second and Third of St. John, 
and the Book of Revelation. 

Again: we are told that the doctrine of the mystical 
efhcacy of the Sacraments comes from the Platonic 
philosophers, the ritual from the Pagans, and the Church 
polity from the Jews. So they do ; that is, in a sense 
in which much miore also comes from the same sources. 
Traces also of the doctrines of the Trinity, Incarnation, 
and Atonement, may be found among heathens, Jews, 
and philosophers; for the Almighty scattered through the 
world, before His Son came, vestiges and gleams of His 

• Luke xxiv. 44. 

External Difficulties of Canon and Creed. 2 1 1 

true Religion, and collected all the separated rays 
together, when He set Him on His holy hill to rule the 
day, and the Church, as the moon, to govern the night. 
In the sense in which the doctrine of the Trinity is 
Platonic, doubtless the doctrine of mysteries generally is 
Platonic also. But this by the way. What I have here 
to notice is, that the same supposed objection can be 
and has been made against the books of Scripture too 
viz., that they borrow from external sources. Unbelievers 
have accused Moses of borrowing his law from the 
Egyptians or other Pagans ; and elaborate comparisons 
have been instituted, on the part of believers also, by 
way of proving it ; though even if proved, and so far as 
proved, it would show nothing more than this, — that God, 
who gave His law to Israel absolutely and openly, had 
already given some portions of it to the heathen. 

Again : an infidel historian accuses St. John of bor- 
rowing the doctrine of the Eternal Logos or Word from 
the Alexandrian Platonists. 

Again : a theory has been advocated, — by whom I 
will not say, — to the effect that the doctrine of apostate 
angels, Satan and his hosts, was a Babylonian tenet, 
introduced into the Old Testament after the Jews' return 
from the Captivity ; that no allusion is made to Satan, 
as the head of the malignant angels, and as having set 
up a kingdom for himself against God, in any book 
written before the Captivity ; from which circumstance 
it may easily be made to follow, that those books of the 
Old Testament which were written after the Captivity 
are not plenarily inspired, and not to be trusted as ca- 
nonical. Now, I own I am not at all solicitous to deny 
that this doctrine of an apostate Angel and his host was 
gained from Babylon : it might still be divine, neverthe- 
less. God who made the prophet's ass speak, and there- 

212 Scripture and the Creed. 

by instructed the prophet, might instruct His Churcn by 
means of heathen Babylon. * 

In hke manner, is no lesson intended to be conveyed to 
us by the remarkable words of the governor of the feast, 
upon the miracle of the water changed to wine ? " Every 
man at the beginning doth set forth good wine, and when 
men have well drunk, then that which is worse ; but Thou 
hast kept the good wine until how." f Yet at first sight 
they have not a very serious meaning. It does not there- 
fore seem to me difficult, nay, nor even unlikely, that the 
prophets of Israel should, in the course of God's provi- 
dence, have gained new truths from the heathen, among 
whom those truths lay corrupted. The Church of God in 
every age has been, as it were, on visitation through the 
earth, surveying, judging, sifting, selecting, and refining 
all matters of thoughts and practice; detecting what was 
precious amid what is ruined and refuse, and putting her 
seal upon it. There is no reason, then, why Daniel and 
Zechariah should not have been taught by the instru- 
mentality of the Chaldeans. However, this is insisted on, 
and as if to the disparagement of the Jewish Dispensation 
by some persons ; and under the notion that its system 
was not only enlarged but altered at the era of the Cap- 
tivity, And I certainly think it may be insisted on as 
plausibly as pagan customs are brought to illustrate and 
thereby to invalidate the ordinances of the Catholic 
Church ; though the proper explanation in the two cases 
is not exactly the same. 

The objection I have mentioned is applied, in the 
quarter to which I allude, to the Books of Chronicles. 
These, it has already been observed, have before now 
been ascribed by sceptics to (what is called) priestly in- 
fluence : here then is a second exceptional influence, a 

* [This principle seems here too broadly enunciated.] f John ii. lo. 

External Difficulties of Canon and Creed. 213 

second superstition. In the Second Book of Samuel it 
is said, "the anger of the Lord was kindled against 
Israel : and He moved David against them to say, Go, 
number Israel and Judah."* On the other hand, in 
Chronicles it is said, " Satan stood up against Israel, and 
provoked David to number Israel."t On this a writer, 
not of the English Church, says, " The author of the 
Book of Chronicles . . . availing himself of the learn- 
ing which. he had acquired in the East, and infl lenced by 
a suitable tenderness for the harmony of the Divine 
Attributes, refers the act of temptation to the malignity 
of the evil principle." You see in this way a blow is 
also struck against the more ancient parts of the Old 
Testament, as well as the more modern. The books 
written before the Captivity are represented, as the whole 
discussion would show, as containing a ruder, simpler, 
less artificial theology ; those after the Captivity, a more 
learned and refined : God's inspiration is excluded in 
both cases. 

The same consideration has been applied to determine 
the date and importance of the Book of Job, which has 
been considered, from various circumstances, external 
and internal, not to contain a real history, but an Eastern 

But enough has been said on this part of the subject. 


It seems, then, that the objections which can be made 
to the evidence for the Church doctrines are such as also 
lie against the Canon of Scripture ; so that if they avail 
against the one, they avail against both. If they avail 
against both, we are brought to this strange conclusion, 
that God has given us a Revelation, yet has revealed 

* 2 Sam. xxxLv. I. f I Chron. xxi. I. 

214 Scripture and thz Creed. 

nothing, — that at great cost, and with much preparation, 
He has miraculously declared His will, that multitudes 
have accordingly considered they possessed it, yet that, 
after all, He has said nothing so clearly as to recommend 
itself as His to a cautious mind ; that nothing is so re- 
vealed as to be an essential part of the Revelation 
nothing plain enough to act upon, nothing so certain 
that we dare assert that the contrary is very m.uch less 

Such a conclusion is a practical refutation of the ob- 
jection which leads to it. It surely cannot be meant 
that we should be undecided all our days. We were 
made for action, and for right action, — for thought, and 
for true thought. Let us live while we live ; let us be 
alive and doing ; let us act on what we have, since we 
have not what we wish. Let us believe what we do not 
see and know. Let us forestall knowledge by faith. 
Let us maintain before we have demonstrated. This 
seeming paradox is the secret of happiness. Why should 
we be unwilling to go by faith .? We do all things in 
this world by faith in the word of others. By faith only 
we know our position in the world, our circumstances, 
our rights and privileges, our fortunes, our parents, our 
brothers and sisters, our age, our mortality. Why should 
Religion be an exception .-' Why should we be unwilling 
to use for heavenly objects what we daily use for earthly } 
Why will we not discern, what it is so much our interest 
to discern, that trust, in the first instance, in what Provi- 
dence sets before us in religious matters, is His will and 
our duty ; that thus it is He leads us into all truth, not 
by doubting, but by believing ; that thus He speaks to 
us, by the instrumentality of what seems accidental ; 
that He sanctifies what He sets before us, shallow or 
weak as it may be in itself, for His high purposes ; that 

External Diffi-cultUs of Canon and Creed. 2 1 5 

most systems have enough of truth in them, to make 
it better for us, when we have no choice besides, and 
cannot discriminate, to begin by taking all (that is not 
plainly immoral) than by rejecting all ; that He will not 
deceive us ii we thus trust in Him. Though the received 
system of religion in which we are born were as unsafe 
as the sea when St. Peter began to walk on it, yet " be 
not afraid." He who could make St. Peter walk the 
waves, could make even a corrupt or defective creed a 
mode and way of leading us into truth, even were ours 
such ; much more can He teach us by the witness of the 
Church Catholic. It is far more probable that her wit- 
ness should be true, whether about the Canon or the 
Creed, than that God should have left us without any 
witness at all. 



Internal Difficulties of the Canon and the Catholic 
Creed, compared. 

I SHALL now finish the subject I have commenced, 
the parallel between the objections adducible against 
the Catholic system, and those against the Canon of 
Scripture. It will be easily understood, that I am not 
attempting any formal and full discussion of the subject, 
but offering under various general heads such sugges- 
tions as may be followed out by those who will. The 
objections to the evidence for the Canon have been 
noticed ; now let us consider objections that may be 
made to its contents. 


Perhaps the main objection taken to the Church sys- 
tem, is the dislike which men feel of its doctrines. 
They call them the work of priestcraft, and in that word 
is summed up all that they hate in them. Priestcraft is 
the art of gaining power over men by appeals to their 
consciences ; its instrument is mystery ; its subject- 
matter, superstitious feeling. " Now the Church doc- 
trines," it is urged, " invest a certain number of in- 
different things with a new and extraordinary power, 
beyond sense, beyond reason, beyond nature, a power 
over the soul ; and they put the exclusive possessions 
and use of the things thus distinguished into the hands 
of the Clergy. Such, for instance, is the Creed ; some 

Internal Difficulties of Canon and Creed. 2 1 7 

mysterious benefit is supposed to result from holding it, 
even though with but a partial comprehension, and the 
Clergy are practically its sole expounders. Such still 
more are the Sacraments, which the Clergy only ad- 
minister, and which are supposed to effect some super- 
natural change in the soul, and to convey some super- 
natural gift." This then is the antecedent exception 
taken against the Catholic doctrines, that they are mys- 
terious, tending to superstition, and to dependence on a 
particular set of men. And this object is urged, not 
merely as a reason for demanding fair proof of what is 
advanced, but as a reason for refusing to listen to any 
proof whatever, as if it fairly created an insurmountable 
presumption against the said doctrines. 

Now I say, in like manner, were it not for our happy 
reverence for the Canon of Scripture, we should take 
like exception to many things in Scripture ; and, since 
we do not, neither ought we, consistently, to take this 
exception to the Catholic system ; but if we do take 
such grounds against that system, there is nothing but 
the strength of habit, good feeling, and our Lord's con- 
trolling grace, to keep us from using them against Scrip- 
ture also. This I shall now attempt to show, and with 
that view, shall cite various passages in Scripture which, 
to most men of this generation, will appear at first sight 
strange, superstitious, incredible, and extreme. If then, 
in spite of these. Scripture is nevertheless from God, so 
again, in spite of similar apparent difficulties, the Catholic 
system may be from Him also ; and what the argument 
comes to is this, that the minds of none of us are in such 
a true state, as to warrant us in judging peremptorily in 
every case what is from God and what is not. We 
shrink from the utterances of His providence with offence, 
as if they were not His, in consequence of our inward 

2 1 8 Scripture and ihe Creed. 

ears being attuned to false harmonies. Kow for some 
instances of what I mean. 


I. I conceive, were we not used to the Scripture nar- 
rative, that we should be startled at the accounts there 
given us of demoniacs.— For instance: "And He asked 
him, What is thy name ? And He answered, My name 
is Legioji, for we are many."* — Again, consider the pas- 
sage, " When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he 
walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth 
none," t etc, ; and in like manner, the account of the 
damsel who was " possessed of a spirit of divination," or 
" Python," that is, of a heathen god, in Acts xvi. ; and 
in connexion with this, St. Paul's assertion " that the 
things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils 
and not to God,":}: and this as being so literally true that 
he deduces a practical conclusion from it, " I would not 
that ye should have fellowship with devils." But, as 
regards this instance, we are not at all driven to conjec- 
ture, but we know it is really the case, that they who 
allow themselves to treat the inspired text freely, do 
at once explain away, or refuse to admit its accounts of 
this mysterious interference of evil spirits in the afi"airs 
of men. Let those then see to it, who call the Fathers 
credulous for recording similar narratives. If they find 
fault with the evidence, that is an intelligible objection ; 
but the common way with objectors is at once and be- 
fore examination to charge on the narrators of such 
accounts childish superstition and credulity. 

2. If we were not used to the narrative, I conceive we 
should be very unwilling to receive the account of the 
serpent speaking to Eve, or its being inhabited by an 

* Mark \. 9. t Matt. .\ii. 43. * i Cor. x. 20. 

Internal Difficulties of Canon and Creed. 219 

evil spirit ; or, again, of the devils being sent into the 
swine. We should scoff at such narratives, as fanciful 
and extravagant. Let us only suppose that, instead of 
being found in Scripture, they were found in some legend 
of the middle ages ; should we merely ask for evidence, 
or simply assume that there was none ? Should we 
think that it was a case for evidence one way or the 
other .'' Should we not rather say, " This is intrinsically 
incredible .'' — it supersedes the necessity of examining 
into evidence, it decides the case." Should we allow the 
strangeness of the narrative merely to act as suspending 
our belief, and throwing the burden of proof on the 
other side, or should we not rather suffer it to settle the 
question for us ? Again, should we have felt less distrust 
in the history of Balaam's ass speaking ? Should we 
have been reconciled to the account of the Holy Ghost 
appearing in a bodily shape, and that apparently the 
shape of an irrational animal, a dove } And, again, 
though we might bear the figure of calling our Saviour 
a lamb, if it occurred once, as if to show that He was the 
antitype of the Jewish sacrifices, yet, unless we were 
used to it, would there not be something repugnant to 
our present habits of mind in calling again and again 
our Saviour by the name of a brute animal ? Unless we 
were used to it, I conceive it would hurt and offend us 
much to read of " glory and honour " being ascribed to 
Him that sitteth upon the Throne and to the Lamb, as 
being a sort of idolatry, or at least an unadvised way of 
speaking. It seems to do too much honour to an inferior 
creature, and to dishonour Christ. You will see this, by 
trying to substitute any other animal, however mild and 
gentle. It is said that one difficulty in translating the 
New Testament into some of the oriental langua^-es 
actually is this, that the word in them for Lamb does not 

2 20 Scripture and the Creed. 

carry with it the associations which it does in languages 
which have had their birth in Christianity. Now we 
have a remarkable parallel to this in the impression pro- 
duced by another figure, which was in use in primitive 
times, when expressed in our own language. The an- 
cients formed an acrostic upon our Lord's Greek titles 
as the Son of God, the Saviour of men, and in conse- 
quence called Him from the first letters Xy^vq, or " fish." 
Hear how a late English writer speaks of it. "This 
contemptible and disgusting quibble originated in certain 
verses of one of the pseudo- sibyls. ... I know of no 
figure which so revoltingly degrades the person of the 
Son of God." Such as this is the nature of the com- 
ment made in the farther east on the sacred image of 
the Lamb. 

But without reference to such peculiar associations, 
which vary with place and person, there is in the light 
of reason a strangeness, perhaps, in God's allowing 
material symbols of Himself at all ; and, again, a 
greater strangeness in His vouchsafing to take a brute 
animal as the name of His Son, and bidding us ascribe 
praise to it. Now it does not matter whether we take 
all these instances separate or together. Separate, they 
are strange enough ; put them together, you have a law 
of God's dealings, which accounts indeed for each sepa- 
rate instance, yet does not make it less strange that the 
brute creation should have so close a connexion with 
God's spiritual and heavenly kingdom. Here, moreover, 
it is in place to make mention of the " four beasts " 
spoken of in the Apocalypse as being before God's 
throne. Translate the word " living thing," as you may 
do, yet the circumstance is not less startling. They 
were respectively like a lion, calf, man, and eagle. To 
this may be added the figure of the Cherubim in the 

Internal Difficulties of Canon and Creed. 


Jewish law, which is said to have been a symbol made 
up of limbs of the same animals. Is it not strange that 
Angels should be represented under brute images ? 
Consider, then, if God has thus made use of brutes in His 
supernatural acts and in His teaching, as real instruments 
and as symbols of spiritual things, what is there strange 
antecedently in supposing He makes use of the inani- 
mate creation also ? If Balaam's ass instructed Balaam, 
what is there fairly to startle us in the Church's doctrine, 
that the water of Baptism cleanses from sin, that eating 
the consecrated Bread is eating His Body, or that oil 
may be blessed for spiritual purposes, as is still done in 
our Church in. the case of a coronation ? Of this I feel 
sure, that those who consider the doctrines of the Church 
incredible, will soon, if they turn their thoughts steadily 
that way, feel a difficulty in the serpent that tempted 
Eve, and the ass that admonished Balaam. 


3. We cannot, it seems, believe that water applied to 
the body really is God's instrument in cleansing the soul 
from sin ; do we believe that, at Bethesda, an Angel 
gave the pool a miraculous power .-• What God has 
done once. He may do again ; that is, there is no ante- 
cedent improbability in His connecting real personal 
benefits to us with arbitrary outward means. Again, 
what should we say, unless we were familarized with it, to 
the story of Naaman bathing seven times in the Jordan .-• 
or rather to the whole system of mystical signs : — the 
tree which Moses cast into the waters to sweeten them ; 
Elisha's throwing meal into the pot of poisonous herbs ; 
and our Saviour's breathing, making clay, and the like } 
Indeed, is not the whole of the Bible, Old and New 
Testament, engaged in a system of outward signs with 

222 Scripture and tJie Creed. 

hidden realities under them, which in Jie Church's 
teaching is only continued ? Is it not certain, then, that 
those who stumble at the latter as incredible, will 
stumble at the former too, as soon as they learn just so 
much irreverence as to originate objections as well as to 
be susceptible of them ? I cannot doubt that, unless we 
were used to the Sacraments, we should be objecting, 
not only to the notion of their conveying virtue, but to 
their observance altogether, viewed as mere badges and 
memorials. They would be called Oriental, suited to 
a people of warm imagination, suited to the religion of 
other times, but too symbolical, poetical, or (as some 
might presume to say) theatrical for us ; as if there 
were something far more plain, solid, sensible, practical, 
and edifying in a sermon, or an open profession, or a 

4. Consider the accounts of virtue going out of our 
Lord, and that, in the case of the woman with the issue 
of blood, as it were by a natural law, without a distinct 
application on His part ; — of all who touched the hem 
of His garment being made whole ; and further, of 
handkerchiefs and aprons being impregnated with healing 
virtue by touching St. Paul's body, and of St. Peter's 
shadow being earnestly sought out, — in the age when 
religion was purest, and the Church's condition most like 
a heaven upon earth. Can we hope that these passages 
ivill not afford matter of objection to the mind, when 
once it has brought itself steadily to scrutinize the evi- 
dence for the inspiration of the Gospels and Acts 1 Will 
it not be obvious to say, " St. Luke was not an Apostle ; 
and I do not believe this account of the handkerchiefs 
and aprons, though I believe the Book of Acts as a w^hole." 
Next, when the mind gets bolder, it will address itself to 
the consideration of the account of the woman with the 

Inte7nia[ Difficulties of Canon and Creed. 223 

issue of blood. Now it is not wonderful that she, poor 
ignorant woman (as men speak), in deplorable ignorance 
of spiritual religion (alas ! that words should be so mis- 
used), dark, and superstitious, — it is not wonderful, I say, 
that she should expect a virtue from touching our Lord's 
garment ; but that she should obtain it by neans of this 
opus opcratiim of merely touching, and agam that He 
should even commend her faith, will be judged impossible. 
The notion of virtue going out of Him will be considered 
as Jewish, pagan, or philosophical. 

Yes ; the outline of the story will be believed, — the 

main fact, the leading idea, — not the details. Indeed, if 

persons have already thought it inherently incredible 

:hat the hands of Bishop or priest should impart a power, 

or grace, or privilege, if they have learned to call it 

orofane, and (as they speak) blasphemous to teach this 

with the early Church, how can it be less so, to consider 

that God gave virtue to a handkerchief, or apron, or 

garment, though our Lord's ? What was it, after all, but 

a mere earthly substance, made of vegetable or animal 

material ? How was it more holy because He wore it .'' 

He was holy, not it ; it did not gain holiness by being 

near Him. Nay : do they not already lay this down as 

a general principle, that, to S'^ppose He diffuses from 

His Person heavenly virtue, is a superstition ? do not 

they, on this ground, object to the Catholic doctrine of 

the Eucharist ; and on what other ground do they deny 

that the Blessed Virgin, whom all but heretics have ever 

called the Mother of God, was most holy in soul and 

body, from her ineffable proximity to God .'' He who 

gave to the perishing and senseless substances of wool 

or cotton that grace of which it was capable, should 

not He rather communicate of His higher spiritual 

perfectioi > to her in whose bosom He lay, or to those 

224 Scripture and the Creed. 

who now possess Him through the Saciamental means 
He has appointed ? 

5. I conceive that, if men indulge themselves in criti- 
cizing, they will begin to be offended at the passage in 
the Apocalyse, which speaks of the " number of the 
beast." Indeed, it is probable that they will reject that 
book of Scripture altogether, not sympathizing with the 
severe tone of doctrine which runs through it. Again : 
there is something very surprising in the importance 
attached to the Name of God and Christ in Scripture. 
The Name of Jesus is said to work cures and frighten 
away devils. I anticipate that this doctrine will become 
a stone of stumbling to those who set themselves to in- 
quire into the trustworthiness of the separate parts of 
Scripture. For instance, the narrative of St. Peter's 
cure of the impotent man, in the early chapters of the 
Acts : — first, " Silver and gold," he says, " have I none ; 
but such as I have, give I thee ; In the Name of Jesus 
Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." Then, " And 
His Name, through faith in His Name, hath made this 
man strong." Then the question " By what power, or by 
what name, have ye done this } " Then the answer, "By 
the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth . . . even by it 
doth this man now stand here before you whole . . . 
there is none other name under heaven given among men 
whereby we must be saved." Then the threat, that the 
Apostles should not " speak at all, nor teach in the Name 
of Jesus." Lastly, their prayer that God would grant 
" that signs and wonders might be done by the Name of 
His Holy Child Jesus." In connexion with which must 
be considered, St. Paul's declaration, " that in the Name 
of Jesus every knee should bow." * Again : I conceive 
that the circumstances of the visitation of the Blessed 

• Acts iii 4. Pliil ii 10 

Internal Difficulties of Canon and Creed. 225 

Virgin to Elizabeth would startle us considerably if 
we lost our faith in Scripture. Again : can we doubt 
that the account of Christ's ascending into heaven will 
not be received by the science of this age, when it is 
carefully considered what is implied in it? Where is 
heaven ? Beyond all the stars ? If so, it would take 
years for any natural body to get there. We say, that 
with God all things are possible. But this age, wise in 
its own eyes, has already decided the contrary, in main- 
taining, as it does, that He who virtually annihilated the 
distance between earth and heaven, on His Son's ascen- 
sion, cannot annihilate it in the celebration of the Holy 
Communion, so as to make us present with Him, though 
He be on God's right hand in heaven. 


6. Further, unless we were used to the passage, I cannot 
but think that we should stumble greatly at the account 
of our Lord's temptation by Satan. Putting aside other 
considerations, dwell awhile on the thought of Satan 
showing " all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of 
time." * What is meant by this t How did he show 
all, and in a moment .-* and if by a mere illusion, why 
from the top of a high mountain .-• 

Or again : consider the account of our Saviour's 
bidding St. Peter catch a fish in order to find money 
in it, to pay tribute with. What should we say if this 
narrative occurred in the Apocrypha t Should we not 
speak of it as an evident fiction ? and are we likely to do 
less, whenever we have arrived at a proper pitch of unscru- 
pulousness, and what is nowadays called critical acumen, 
in analyzing and disposing of what we have hitherto re- 
ceived as divine ? Again : I conceive that the blood and 

• Luke iv. 5: 

226 Scripture and the Creed. 

warter which issued from our Saviour's side, particularly- 
taken with the remarkable comment upon it in St. John's 
Epistle, would be disbelieved, if men were but consistent 
in their belief and disbelief. The miracle would have 
been likened to many which occur in Martyrologies, and 
the inspired comment would have been called obscure 
and fanciful, as on a par with various doctrinal interpre- 
tations in the Fathers, which carry forsooth their own 
condemnation with them. Again : the occurrence men- 
tioned by St. John, "Then came there a voice from 
heaven, saying, I have both glorified it (My Name), and 
will glorify it again. The people, therefore, that stood 
by, and heard it, said that it thundered ; others said, 
An Angel spake to him : " * this, I conceive, would soon 
be looked upon as suspicious, did men once begin to 
examine the claims of the Canon upon our faith. 

Or again : to refer to the Old Testament. I conceive 
that the history of the Deluge, the ark, and its inhabit- 
ants, will appear to men of modern tempers more and 
more incredible, the longer and more minutely it is 
dwelt upon. Or, again, the narrative of Jonah and the 
whale. Once more, the following narrative will surely 
be condemned also, as bearing on its face evident marks 
of being legendary : "And the sons of the prophets said 
unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with 
thee is too strait for us. Let us go, we pray thee, unto 
Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us 
make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he an- 
swered. Go ye. And one said. Be content, I pray thee, 
and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go. 
So he went with them. And when they came to Jor- 
dan, they cut down wood. But as one was felling a 
beam, the axe-head fell into the water ; and he cried, 

* 2 John xii. 28, 29. 

Internal Difficulties of Canon and Creed. 227 

and said, Alas, master ! for it was borrowed. And the 
man of God said, Where fell it ? And he showed him 
the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in 
thither; and the iron did swim. Therefore said he, 
Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took 


7. Having mentioned Elisha, I am led to say a word 
or two upon his character. Men of this age are full 
of their dread of priestcraft and priestly ambition ; and 
they speak and feel as if the very circumstance of a per- 
son claiming obedience upon a divine authority was 
priestcraft and full of evil. They speak as if it was 
against the religious rights of man (for some such rights 
are supposed to be possessed by sinners, even by those 
who disown the doctrine of the political rights of man), 
as if it were essentially an usurpation for one man to 
claim spiritual power over another. They do not ask 
for the voucher of liis claim, for his commission, but 
think the claim absurd. They so speak, that any one 
who heard them, without knowing the Bible, would think 
that Almighty God had never " given such power unto 
men." Now, what would such persons say to Elisha's 
character and conduct ? Let me recount some few pas- 
sages in his history, in the Second Book of Kings, and 
let us bear in mind what has been already observed of 
the character of the Books of Chronicles. When the little 
children out of Bethel mocked him, "he cursed them 
in the name of the Lord."t This was his first act after 
entering on his office. Again : Jehoram, the son of 
Ahab, put away Baal, and walked not in the sins of his 
father and his mother ; but because he did not put away 

* 2 Kings vi. I — 7. f 2 Kings ii. 23. 

2 28 Scripture and the Creed. 

the false worship of Jeroboam, but kept to his calves, 
his self-appointed priests, altars, and holy days, which he 
probably thought a little sin, when he was in distress, 
and called upon Elisha, Elisha said, "What have I to 
do with thee ? Get thee to the prophets of thy father, 
and to the prophets of thy mother : " * and went on to 
say, that, but for the presence of good Jehoshaphat, " I 
would not look toward thee nor see thee." This was 
taking (what would now be called) a high tone. Again: 
the Shunammite was a great woman ; he was poor. She 
got her husband's leave to furnish a " little chamber " 
for him, not in royal style, but as for a poor minister 
of God. It had "a bed and a table and a stool and 
a candlestick," and when he came that way he availed 
himself of it. The world would think that she was the 
patron, and he ought to be humble, and to know his 
place. But observe his language on one occasion of 
his lodging there. He said to his servant, " Call this 
Shunammite." When she came, she, the mistress of the 
house, " stood before him." He did not speak to her, but 
bade his servant speak, and then she retired ; then he 
held a consultation with his servant, and then he called 
her again, and she " stood in the door ; " then he pro- 
mised her a son. Again : Naaman was angered that 
Ehsha did not show him due respect : he only sent him 
a message, and bade him wash and be clean. After- 
wards we find the prophet interposing in political matters 
in Israel and Syria. 

Now, it is not to the purpose to account for all this, 
by saying he worked miracles. Are miracles necessary 
for being a minister of God } Are miracles the only way 
in which a claim can be recognized ? Is a man the 
higher minister, the more miracles he does ? Are we to 
*Ib. iii. 13. 

Internal Difficulties of Canon and Creed. 229 

honour only those who minister temporal miracles, and 
to be content to eat and be filled with the loaves and 
fishes ? Are there no higher miracles than visible ones ? 
John the Baptist did no miracles, yet he too claimed, and 
gained, the obedience of the Jews. Miracles prove a man 
to be God's minister ; they do not make him God's min- 
ister. No matter how a man is proved to come from 
God, if he is known to come from God. If Christ is 
with His ministers, according to His promise, even to 
the end of the world, so that he that despiseth them 
despiseth Him, then, though they do no miracles, they 
are in office as great as Elisha, And if Baptism be the 
cleansing and quickening of the dead soul, to say nothing 
of Holy Eucharist, they do work miracles. If God's 
ministers are then only to be honoured when we see 
that they work miracles, where is place for faith ? Are 
we not under a dispensation of faith, not of sight .'' Was 
Elisha great because he was seen to work miracles, or 
because he could, and did, work them .'' Is God's minister 
a proud priest now, for acting as if he came from God, if 
he does come from Him } Yet men of this generation, 
without inquiring into his claims, would most undoubtedly 
call him impostor and tyrant, proud, arrogant, profane, 
and Antichristian, nay. Antichrist himself, if he, a Chris- 
tian minister, assume one-tenth part of Elisha's state.. 
Yes, Antichrist ; — " If they have called the Master of 
the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call 
them of His household ? " * 

8. St. John the Baptist's character, I am persuaded, 
would startle most people, if they were not used to 
Scripture ; and when men begin to doubt about the in- 
tegrity of Scripture, it will be turned against the authen- 
ticity or the authority of the particular passages which 
* Matt X. 25. 

230 Scripture and the Creed. 

relate to it. Let us realize to ourselves a man living on 
locusts and wild honey, and with a hair shirt on, bound 
by a leathern girdle. Our Lord indeed bids us avoid 
outward show, and therefore the ostentation of such 
austerity would be wrong now, of course ; but what is 
there to show that the thing itself would be wrong, if 
a person were moved to do it ? Does not our Saviour 
expressly say, with reference to the austerities of St. 
John's disciples, that after His departure His own disci- 
ples shall resemble them, — " then shall they fast " .-* Yet, 
I suppose, most persons would cry out now against the 
very semblance of the Baptist's life ; and why } Those 
who gave a reason v/ould perhaps call it Jewish. Yet 
what had St. John to do with the Jews, whose religion 
was one, not of austerity, but of joyousness and feasting, 
and that by divine permission .'' Surely the same feeling 
which would make men condemn an austere life now, if 
individuals attempted it, which makes them, when they 
read of such instances in the early Church, condemn 
it, would lead the same parties to condemn it in St. 
John, were they not bound by religious considerations ; 
and, therefore, I say, if ever the time comes that men 
begin to inquire into the divinity of the separate parts 
of Scripture, as they do now scrutinize the separate parts 
of the Church system, they will no longer be able to 
acquiesce in St. John's character and conduct as simply 
right and religious. 

9. Lastly, I will mention together a number of doc- 
trinal passages, which, though in Scripture, they who 
deny that the Fathers contain the pure Gospel, hardly 
would consider parts of it, if they were but consistent in 
their free speculations. Such are St. Paul's spiritualizing 

Internal Difficulties of Canon and Creed. 231 

the history of Sarah and Hagar ; his statement of the 
fire trying every man's work in the day of judgment; 
his declaring that women must have their heads covered 
in church, " because of the Angels ; " his charging 
Timothy "before the elect Angels;" his calling the 
Church " the pillar and ground of the Truth ; '' the tone 
of his observations on celibacy, which certainly, if written 
by any of the Fathers, would in this day have been cited 
in proof of " the mystery of iniquity" (by which they 
mean Romanism) " already working" in an early age ; 
St. John's remarkable agreement of tone with him in a 
passage in the Apocalypse, not to say our Lord's ; our 
Lord's account of the sin against the Holy Ghost, viewed 
in connexion with St. Paul's warning against falling 
away, after being enlightened, and St. John's notice of 
a sin which is unto death — (this would be considered 
opposed to the free grace of the Gospel) ; our Lord's 
strong words about the arduousness of a rich man's get- 
ting to heaven ; what He says about binding and loos- 
ing ; about a certain kind of evil spirit going out only by 
fasting and prayer ; His command to turn the left cheek 
to him who smites the right ; St. Peter's saying that we 
are partakers of a divine nature ; and what he says 
about Christ's "going and preaching to the spirits in 
prison ;" St. Matthew's account of the star which guided 
the wise men to Bethlehem ; St. Paul's statement, that 
a woman is saved through childbearing ; St. John's 
directions how to treat those who hold not " the doctrine 
of Christ ; " — these and a multitude of other passages 
would be adduced, not to prove that Christianity was 
not true, or that Christ was not the Son of God, or the 
Bible not inspired, or not on the whole genuine and 
authentic, but that every part of it was not equally 
divine; that portions, books, particularly of the Old 

2;^ 2 Scripture and the Creed. 

Testament, were not so ; that we must use our own 
judgment. Nay, as time went on, perhaps it would be 
said that the Old Testament altogether was not inspired, 
only the New — nay, perhaps only parts of the New, not 
certain books which were for a time doubted in some 
ancient Churches, or not the Gospels according to St. 
Mark and St. Luke, nor the Acts, because not the 
writing of Apostles, or not St. Paul's reasonings, only his 
conclusions. Next, it would be said, that no reliance 
can safely be placed on single texts ; and so men would 
proceed, giving up first one thing, then another, till it 
would become a question what they gained of any kind, 
what they considered they gained, from Christianity as a 
definite revelation or a direct benefit. They would come 
to consider its publication mainly as an historical event 
occurring eighteen hundred years since, which modified 
or altered the course of human thought and society, and 
thereby altered what would otherwise have been our 
state ; as something infused into an existing mass, and 
influencing us in the improved tone of the institutions 
in which we find ourselves, rather than as independent, 
substantive, and one, specially divine in its origin, and 
directly acting upon us. 

This is what the Age is coming to, and I wish it ob- 
served. We know it denies the existence of the Church 
as a divine institution : it denies that Christianity has 
been cast into any particular social mould. Well : but 
this, I say, is not all ; it is rapidly tending to deny the 
existence of any system of Christianity either ; any creed, 
doctrine, philosophy, or by whatever other name we de- 
•^ignate it. Hitherto it has been usual, indeed, to give 
up the Church, and to speak only of the covenant, reli- 
gion, creed, matter, or system of the Gospel ; to consider 
rhe Gospel as a sort of literature or philosophy, open for 

Internal Difficulties of Canon and Creed. 233 

all to take and appropriate, not confined to any set of 
men, yet still a real, existing system of religion. This 
has been the approved line of opinion in our part of the 
world for the last hundred and fifty years ; but now a 
further step is about to be taken. The view henceforth 
is to be, that Christianity does not exist in documents, 
any more than in institutions ; in other words, the Bible 
will be given up as well as the Church. It will be said 
that the benefit which Christianity has done to the 
world, and which its Divine Author meant it should do, 
was to give an impulse to society, to infuse a spirit, to 
direct, control, purify, enlighten the mass of human 
thought and action, but not to be a separate and definite 
something, whether doctrine or association, existing ob- 
jectively, integral, and with an identity, and for ever, 
and with a claim upon our homage and obedience. And 
all this fearfully coincides with the symptoms in other 
directions of the spread of a Pantheistic spirit, that is, the 
religion of beauty, imagination, and philosophy, without 
constraint moral or intellectual, a religion speculative and 
self-indulgent. Pantheism, indeed, is the great deceit 
which awaits the Age to come. 


Let us then look carefully, lest we fall in with the evil 
tendencies of the times in which our lot is cast. God has 
revealed Himself to us that we might believe : surely 
His Revelation is something great and important. He 
who made it, meant it to be a blessing even to the end 
of the world : this is true, if any part of Scripture is true. 
From beginning to end. Scripture implies that God has 
spoken, and that it is right, our duty, our interest, our 
safety to believe. Whether, then, we have in our hands 
the means of exactly proving this or that part of Scrip- 

234 Scripture and the Creed. 

ture to be genuine or not, whether we have in our hands 
the complete proofs of all the Church doctrines, we are 
more sure that hearty belief in something is our duty, 
than that it is not our duty to believe those doctrines 
and that Scripture as we have received them. If our 
choice lies between accepting all and rejecting all, which 
I consider it does when persons are consistent, no man 
can hesitate which alternative is to be taken. 

So far then every one of us may say, — Our Heavenly 
Father gave the world a Revelation in Christ ; we are 
baptized into His Name. He wills us to believe, be- 
cause He has given us a Revelation. He who wills us 
to believe must have given us an object to believe. 
Whether I can prove this or that part to my satisfaction, 
yet, since I can prove all in a certain way, and cannot 
separate part from part satisfactorily, I cannot be wrong 
in taking the whole. I am sure that, if there be error, 
which I have yet to learn, it must be, not in principles, 
but in mere matters of detail. If there be corruption or 
human addition in what comes to me, it must be in little 
matters, not in great. On the whole, I cannot but have 
God's Revelation, and that, in what I see before me, 
with whatever incidental errors. I am sure, on the other 
hand, that the way which the Age follows cannot be right, 
for it tends to destroy Revelation altogether. Whether 
this or that doctrine, this or that book of Scripture is 
fully provable or not, that line of objection to it cannot 
be right, which, when pursued, destroys Church, Creed, 
Bible altogether, — which obliterates the very Name of 
Christ from the world. It is then God's will, under 
my circumstances, that I should believe what, in the 
way of Providence, He has put before me to believe. 
God will not deceive me. I can trust Him. Either 
every part of the system is pure truth, or, if this or that 

Internal Difficulties of Canon and Creed. 235 

be an addition, He will (I humbly trust and believe) 
make such addition harmless to my soul, if I thus throw 
myself on His mercy with a free and confiding spirit. 
Doubt is misery and sin, but belief has received Christ's 

This is the reflection which I recommend to all, so far 
as they have not the means of examining the Evidences 
for the Church, Creed, and Canon of Scripture ; but I 
must not be supposed to imply, because I have so put 
the matter, that those who have the means, will not find 
abundant evidence for the divinity of all three. 



Difficulties of yewish and of Christian Faith 

I HAVE been engaged for some time in showing 
that the Canon of Scripture rests on no other 
foundation than the Catholic doctrines rest ; that those 
who dispute the latter should, if they were consistent, — 
will, when they learn to be consistent, — dispute the 
former ; that in both cases we believe, mainly, because 
the Church of the fourth and fifth centuries unanimously 
believed, and that we have at this moment to defend our 
belief in the Catholic doctrines merely because they 
come first, are the first object of attack ; and that if we 
were not defending our belief in them, we should at this 
very time be defending our belief in the Canon. Let no 
one then hope for peace in this day ; let no one attempt 
to purchase it by concession ; — vain indeed would be 
that concession. Give up the Catholic doctrines, and 
what do you gain ? an attack upon the Canon, with (to 
say the least) the same disadvantages on your part, or 
rather, in fact, with much greater ; for the circumstance 
that you have already given up the Doctrines as if 
insufficiently evidenced in primitive times, will be an 
urgent call on you, in consistency, to give up the Canon 
too. And besides, the Church doctrines may also be 
proved from Scripture, but no one can say that the 
Canon of Scripture itself can be proved from Scripture 
to be a Canon; no one can say, that Scripture anywhere 

Difficulties of JewisJi and Christian Faith. 237 

enumerates all the books of which it is composed, and 
puts its seal upon them ever so indirectly, even if it 
might allowably bear witness to itself. 


But here, before proceeding to make some reflections 
on the state of the case, I will make one explanation, 
and notice one objection. 

In the first place, then, I must explain myself, when 
I say that we depend for the Canon and Creed upon the 
fourth and fifth centuries. We depend upon them thus : 
As to Scripture, former centuries certainly do not speak 
distinctly, frequently, or unanimously, except of some 
chief books, as the Gospels : but still we see in them, 
as we believe, an ever-growing tendency and approxima- 
tion to that full agreement which we find in the fifth. 
The testimony given at the latter date is the limit to 
which all that has been before given converges. For in- 
stance, it is commonly said, Exceptio probat regiilam ; 
when we have reason to think, that a writer or an age 
would have witnessed so and so, but for this or that, and 
this or that were mere accidents of his position, then he 
or it may be said to tend towards such testimony. In 
this way the first centuries tend towards the fifth. View- 
ing the matter as one of moral evidence, we seem to see in 
the testimony of the fifth the very testimony which every 
preceding century gave, accidents excepted, such as the 
present loss of documents once extant, or the then exist- 
ing misconceptions, which want of intercourse between the 
Churches occasioned. The fifth century acts as a com- 
ment on the obscure text of the centuries before it, and 
brings out a meaning which, with the help of that com- 
ment, any candid person sees really to belong to them. 

And in the same way as regards the Catholic Creed, 

238 Saipture and the Creed. 

though there is not so much to explain and account for. 
Not so much, for no one, I suppose, will deny that in the 
Fathers of the fourth century it is as fully developed, and 
as unanimously adopted, as it is in the fifth century; 
and, again, there had been no considerable doubts about 
any of its doctrines previously, as there were about the 
Epistle to the Hebrews or the Apocalypse : or if any, 
they were started by individuals, as Origen's about 
eternal punishment, not by Churches^ — or they were 
at once condemned by the general Church, as in the 
case of heresies, — or they were not about any primary 
doctrine, for instance, the Incarnation or Atonement ; and 
all this, in spite of that want of free intercourse which did 
occasion doubts about portions of the Canon. Yet, in both 
cases, we have at first an inequality of evidence as regards 
the constituent parts of what was afterwards universally 
received as a whole, — the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, 
for instance, and, on the other hand, the four Gospels 
being generally witnessed from the first ; but certain other 
doctrines, (as the necessity of infant baptism,) being at 
first rather practised and assumed, than insisted on, 
and certain books, (as the Epistle to the Hebrews and 
the Apocalypse,) doubted, or not admitted, in particular 
countries. And as the unanimity of the fifth century as 
regards the Canon, clears up and overcomes all previous 
differences, so the abundance of the fourth as to the 
Creed interprets, develops, and combines all that is 
recondite or partial, in previous centuries, as to doctrine, 
acting in a parallel way as a comment, not, indeed, as in 
the case of the Canon, upon a perplexed and disordered, 
but upon a concise text. In both cases, the after cen- 
turies contain but the termination and summing up of 
the testimony of the foregoing. 

Difficulties of Jcivish a7id Christian Faith. 339 


So much as to the explanation which I proposed to 
give ; the objection I have to notice is this. It is said, 
that the Fathers might indeed bear witness to a docu- 
ment such as the books of Scripture are, and yet not be 
good witnesses to a doctrine, which is, after all, but an 
opinion. A document or book is something external to 
the mind ; it is an object that any one can point at, and 
if a person about two or three hundred years after 
Christ, said, " This book of the New Testament has 
been accounted sacred ever since it was written," we 
could be as sure of what he said, as we are at the present 
day, that the particular church we now use was built at 
a certain date, or that the date in the title-page of a cer- 
tain printed book is trustworthy. On the other hand, it 
is urged, a doctrine does not exist, except in the mind of 
this or that person, it is not a thing you can point at, it 
is not a something which two persons see at once, — it is 
an opinion ; and every one has his own opinion. I have 
an opinion, you have an opinion ; — if on comparing notes 
we think we agree, we call it the same opinion, but it 
is not the same really, only called the same, because 
similar ; and, in fact, probably no two such opinions 
really do coincide in all points. Every one describes 
and colours from his own mind. No one then can bear 
witness to a doctrine being ancient. Strictly speaking, 
that which he contemplates, witnesses, speaks about, 
began with himself ; it is a birth of his own mind. He 
may, indeed, have caught it from another, but it is not 
the same as another man's doctrine, unless one flame is 
the same as a second kindled from it ; and as flame 
communicated from spirit to sulphur, from sulphur to 
wood, from wood to coal, from coal to charcoal, bums 
variously, so, true as it may be that certain doctrines 

240 Script mx and the Creed. 

originated in the Apostles, it does not follow that the 
particular form in which we possess them, originated 
with the Apostles also. Such is the objection ; that the 
Fathers, if honest men, may be credible witnesses of 
facts, but not, however honest, witnesses to doctrines. 

It admits of many answers : — I will mention two. 

I. It does not rescue the Canon from the difficulties 
of its own evidence, which is its professed object ; for it 
is undeniable that there are books of Scripture, which 
in the first centuries particular Fathers, nay, particular 
Churches did not receive. What is the good of con- 
trasting testimony to facts with testimony to opinions, 
when we have not in the case of the Canon that clear 
testimony to the facts in dispute, which the objection 
supposes } Lower, as you will, the evidence for the 
Creed ; you do nothing thereby towards raising the evi- 
dence for the Canon. The first Fathers, in the midst of 
the persecutions, had not, as I have said, time and op- 
portunity to ascertain always what was inspired and 
what was not ; and, since nothing but an agreement of 
many, of different countries, will prove to us what the 
Canon is, we must betake ourselves of necessity to the 
fourth and fifth centuries, to those centuries which did 
hold those very doctrines, which, it seems, are to be re- 
jected as superstitions and corruptions. But if the Church 
then was in that miserable state of superstition, which be- 
lief in those doctrines is supposed to imply, then I must 
contend, that blind bigotry and ignorance were not fit 
judges of what was inspired and what was not. I will not 
trust the judgment of a worldly-minded partizan, or a 
crafty hypocrite, or a» credulous fanatic in this matter. 
Unless then you allow those centuries to be tolerably 
iree from doctrinal corruptions, I conceive, you cannot 
use them as witnesses of the canonicity of the Old and 

Difficulties of Jewish and Christian Faith. 241 

New Testament, as we now have them ; but, if you do con- 
sider the fourth and fifth centuries enlightened enough 
to decide on the Canon, then I want to know why you 
call them not enlightened in point of doctrine. The 
only reason commonly given is, that their Christianity 
contains many notions and many usages and rites not in 
Scripture, and which, because not in Scripture, are to be 
considered, it seems, as if against Scripture. But this 
surely is no sound argument, unless it is true also that 
the canonicity itself of the Old and New Testament, not 
being declared in Scripture, is therefore unscriptural. I 
consider then that the man, whether we call him cautious 
or sceptical, who quarrels with the testimony for Catholic 
doctrine, because a doctrine is a mere opinion, and not 
an objective fact, ought also in consistency to quarrel 
with the testimony for the Canon, as being that of an 
age which is superstitious as a teacher and uncritical as 
a judge. 

2. But again : the doctrines of the Church are after all 
not mere matters of opinion ; they were not in early 
times mere ideas in the mind to which no one could 
appeal, each individual having his own, but they were 
external facts, quite as much as the books of Scripture ; 
— how so ? Because they were embodied in rites and 
ceremonies. A usage, custom, or monument, has the 
same kind of identity, is in the same sense common pro- 
perty, and admits of a common appeal, as a book. 
When a writer appeals to the custom of the Sign of the 
Cross, or the Baptism of infants, or the Sacrifice or the 
Consecration of the Eucharist, or Episcopal Ordina- 
tion, he is not speaking of an opinion in his mind, but 
of something external to it, and is as trustworthy as 
when he says that the Acts of the Apostles is written by 
St Luke. Now such usages are symbols of common, 

* * -*c 

« lO 

2^2 Scripture and the Creed. 

not individual opinions, and more or less involve the 
doctrines they symbolize. Is it not implied, for instance, 
in the fact of priests only consecrating the Eucharist, that 
it is a gift which others have not ? in the Eucharist being 
offered to God, that it is an offering ? in penance being 
exacted of offenders, that it is right to impose it ? in 
children being exorcised, that they are by nature chil- 
dren of wrath, and inhabited by Satan ? On the other 
hand, when the Fathers witness to the inspiration of 
Scripture, they are surely as much witnessing to a mere 
doctrine, — not to the book itself, but to an opinion, — as 
when they bear witness to the grace of Baptism. 

Again, the Creed is a document the same in kind as 
Scripture, though its wording be not fixed and invariable, 
or its language. It admits of being appealed to, and is 
appealed to by the early Fathers, as Scripture is. If 
Scripture was written by the Apostles, (as it is,) because 
the Fathers say so, why was not the Creed taught 
by the Apostles, because the Fathers say so.? The 
Creed is no opinion in the mind, but a form of words 
pronounced many times a day, at every baptism, at 
every communion, by every member of the Church : — 
is it not common property as much as Scripture .-' 

Once more ; if Church doctrine is but a hazy opinion, 
how is it there can be such a thing at all as Catholic 
consent about it .-• If, in spite of its being subjective to 
the mind, Europe, Asia, and Africa could agree together 
in doctrine in the fourth and fifth centuries (to say 
nothing of earlier times), why should its subjective 
character be an antecedent objection to a similar agree- 
ment in it between the fourth century and the first ? 
And does not this agreement show that we are able to 
tell when we agree together, and when we do not t Is 
it a mere accident, and perhaps a mistake, that Christians 

Difficulties of Jewish and Christian Faith. 243 

then felt sure that they agreed together in creed, and we 
now feel sure that we do not agree together ? 

Granting, then, that external facts can be discriminated 
n a way in which opinions cannot be, yet the Church 
doctrines are not mere opinions, but ordinances also : and 
though the books of Scripture themselves are an 
external fact, yet they are not all of them witnessed by 
all writers till a late age, and their canonicity and in- 
spiration are but doctrines, not facts, and open to the 
objections, whatever they are, to which doctrines lie 


And now, having said as much as is necessary on 
these subjects, I will make some remarks on the state of 
the case as I have represented it, and thus shall bring 
to an end the train of thought upon which I have been 
engaged. Let us suppose it proved, then, as I consider 
it has been proved, that many difficulties are connected 
with the evidence for the Canon, that we might have 
clearer evidence for it than we have ; and again, let us 
grant that there are many difficulties connected with 
the evidence for the Church doctrines, that they might 
be more clearly contained in Scripture, nay, in the ex- 
tant writings of the first three centuries, than they are. 
This being assumed, I observe as follows : — 

I. There is something very arresting and impressive 
in the fact, that there should be these difficulties attend- 
ing those two great instruments of religious truth which 
we possess. We are all of us taught from the Bible, and 
from the Creed or the Prayer Book : it is from these that we 
get our knowledge of God. We are sure they contain a doc- 
trine which is from Him. We are sure of it ; but hotv do 
we know it ? We are sure the doctrine is from Him, and 

244 Scripture and the Creed. 

(I hesitate not to say) by a supernatural divinely inspired 
assurance; but how do we know the doctrine is from Him ? 
When we go to inquire into the reasons in argument, 
we find that the Creed or the Prayer Book with its various 
doctrines rests for its authority upon the Bible, and that 
these might be more clearly stated in the Bible than 
they are ; and that the Bible, with its various books, 
rests for its authority on ancient testimony, and that its 
books might have been more largely and strongly attested 
■ than they are. I say, there is something very subduing 
to a Christian in this remarkable coincidence, which can- 
not be accidental. We have reason to believe that God, 
our Maker and Governor, has spoken to us by Revela- 
tion ; yet why has He not spoken more distinctly .-* He 
has given us doctrines which are but obscurely gathered 
from Scripture, and a Scripture which is but obscurely 
gathered from history. It is not a single fact, but a 
double fact ; it is a coincidence. We have two inform- 
ants, and both leave room, if we choose, for doubt, 
God's ways surely are not as our ways. 

2. This is the first reflection which rises in the mind 
on the state of the case. The second is this : that, most 
remarkable it is, the Jews were left in the same uncer- 
tainty about Christ, in which we are about His doctrine. 
The precept, " Search the Scriptures," and the com- 
mendation of the Beroeans, who " searched the Scriptures 
daily," surely implies that divine truth was not on the 
surface of the Old Testament. We do not search for 
things which are before us, but for what we have lost or 
have to find. The whole system of the prophecies left 
the Jews (even after Christ came) where we are — in un- 
certainty. The Sun of Righteousness did not at once 
clear up the mists from the Prophetic Word. It was a 
dark saying to the many, after He came, as well as 

Difficulties of Jewish and Christian Faith. 245 

before. It is not to be denied that there were and are 
many real difficulties in the way of the Jews admitting 
that Jesus Christ is their Messiah, The Old Testament 
certainly does speak of the Messiah as a temporal 
monarch, and a conqueror of this world. We are accus- 
tomed to say that the prophecies must be taken 
spiritually ; and rightly do we say so. True : yet does 
not this look like an evasion, to a Jew ? Is it not much 
more like an evasion, though it be not, than to say (what 
the Church does say and rightly) that rites remain, 
though Jewish rites are done away, because our rites are 
not Jewish, but spiritual, gifted with the Spirit, channels 
of grace ? The Old Testament certainly spoke as if, 
when the Church expanded into all nations, still those 
nations were to be inferior to the Jews, even if ad- 
mitted into the Church ; and so St. Peter understood it 
till he had the vision. Yet when the Jews complained, 
instead of being soothed and consoled, they were met 
with language such as this : " Friend, I do thee no 
wrong, ... Is it not lawful for Me to do what I will 
with Mine own t Is thine eye evil because I am good 1 " 
And, " Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest 
against God ? Shall the thing formed say to Him that 
formed it. Why hast Thou made me thus ? " * 

Again ; why were the Jews discarded from God's 
election .-* for keeping to their Law, Why, this was the 
very thing they were told to do, the very thing which, if 
not done, was to be their ruin. Consider Moses' words : 
" If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law 
that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear 
this glorious and fearful Name, The Lord thy God ; 
then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and 
the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of 
* Alatt XX, 13 — 15. Rom. ix. 20. 

246 Scripture and the Creed. 

long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long con- 
tinuance." * Might they not, or rather did they not, 
bring passages like this as an irrefragable argument 
against Christianity, that they were told to give up their 
Law, that Law which was the charter of their religious 
prosperity? Might not their case seem a hard one, 
judging by the surface of things, and without refer- 
ence to " the hidden man of the heart " ? We know 
how to answer this objection ; we say, Christianity lay 
beneath the letter ; that the letter slew those who for 
whatever cause went by it ; that when Christ came. 
He shed a light on the sacred text and brought out its 
secret meaning. Now, is not this just the case I have 
been stating, as regards Catholic doctrines, or rather a 
more difficult case ,'' The doctrines of the Church are 
not hidden so deep in the New Testament, as the Gospel 
doctrines are hidden in the Old ; but they are hidden ; 
and I am persuaded that were men but consistent, who 
oppose the Church doctrines as being unscriptural, they 
would vindicate the Jews for rejecting the Gospel. 

Much might be said on this subject : I will but add, 
by way of specimen, how such interpretations as our 
Lord's of "I am the God of Abraham," etc., would, 
were we not accustomed to them, startle and offend rea- 
soning men. Is it not much further from the literal 
force of the words, than the doctrine of the Apostolical 
Succession is from the words, " I am with you alway, 
even unto the end of the world " } In the one case we 
argue, " Therefore, the Apostles are in one sense now on 
earth, because Christ says ' with yo7i alway ; ' " in the 
other, Christ Himself argues, " therefore in one sense the 
bodies of the patriarchs are still alive ; for God calls 
Himself ' their God.' " We say, " therefore the Apostles 

• DeuL xxviii. 58, 59. 

Difficulties of Jewish and Christian Faith. 247 

live in their successors." Christ implies, " therefore the 
body never died, and therefore it will rise again." His own 
divine mouth hereby shows us that doctrines may be in 
Scripture, though they require a multitude of links to 
draw them thence. It must be added that the Sadducees 
did profess (what they would call) a plain and simple 
creed ; they recurred to Moses and went by Moses, and 
rejected all additions to what was on the surface of the 
Mosaic writings, and thus they rejected what really was 
in the mind of Moses, though not on his lips. They 
denied the Resurrection ; they had no idea that it was 
contained in the books of Moses. 

Here, then, is another singular instance of the same 
procedure on the part of Divine Providence. That Gos- 
pel which was to be "the glory of His people Israel,"* 
was a stumblingblock to them, as for other reasons, so 
especially because it was not on the surface of the Old 
Testament. And all the compassion (if I may use the 
word) that they received from the Apostles in their per- 
plexity was, " because they knew Him not, nor yet the 
voice of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath day, 
they have fulfilled them in condemning Him."t Or 
again : " Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the 
prophet unto our fathers, saying, Go unto this people, 
and say, Hearing, ye shall hear, and shall not under- 
stand,"^ etc. Or when the Apostles are mildest: "I 
have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ 
for my brethren, my kinsman according to the flesh ; " 
or " I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, 
but not according to knowledge." § Moreover, it is 
observable that the record of their anxiety is preserved 

* Luke ii. 32. 1 lb. xxviii. 25, 26. 

\ A.cts xiii. 27. § Rom. ix. 2, 3 : x. 2. 

248 Scripture and the Creed. 

to us ; an anxiety which many of us would call just and 
rational, many would pity, but which the inspired writers 
treat with a sort of indignation and severity. " Then 
came the Jews round about Him, and said unto Him, 
How long dost Thou make us to doubt?"* or more 
literally, " How long dost Thou keep our soul in sus- 
pense ? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly!' Christ 
answers by referring to His works, and by declaring that 
His sheep do hear and know Him, and follow Him. If 
any one will seriously consider the intercourse between 
our Lord and the Pharisees, he will see that, not denying 
their immorality and miserable pride, still they had 
reason for complaining (as men now speak) that " the 
Gospel was not preached to them," — that the Truth was 
not placed before them clearly, and fully, and uncom- 
promisingly, and intelligibly, and logically, — that they 
were bid to believe on weak arguments and fanciful de- 
ductions, t 

This then, I say, is certainly a most striking coincidence 
in addition. Whatever perplexity any of us may feel 
about the evidence of Scripture or the evidence of Church 
doctrine, we see that such perplexity is represented in 
Scripture as the lot of the Jews too ; and this circum- 
stance, while it shows that it is a sort of law of God's 
providence, and thereby affords an additional evidence of 
the truth of the Revealed System by showing its harmony, 
also serves to quiet and console, and moreover to awe 
and warn us. Doubt and difficulty, as regards evidence, 
seems our lot ; the simple question is. What is our duty 
under it ? Difficulty is our lot, as far as we take on our- 
selves to inquire ; the multitude are not able to inquire, 
and so escape the trial ; but when men inquire, this trial 
at once comes upon them. And surely we may use the 

* John X. 24. f [This is too strongly worded.j 

Difficulties oj Jewish and Christiafi Faith. 249 

parable of the Talents to discover what our duty is under 
the trial. Do not those who refuse to go by the hints 
and probable meaning of Scripture hide their talent in a 
napkin ? and will they be excused ? 

3. Now in connexion with what has been said, observe 
the singular coincidence, or rather appositeness, of what 
Scripture enjoins, as to the duty of going by faith in 
religious matters. The difficulties which exist in the 
evidence give a deep meaning to that characteristic 
enunciation. Scripture is quite aware of those difficulties. 
Objections can be brought against its own inspiration, 
its canonicity, its doctrines in our case, as in the case of 
the Jews against the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. It 
knows them all : it has provided against them, by re- 
cognizing them. It says, " Believe," because it knows 
that, unless we believe, there is no means of our arriving 
at a knowledge of divine things. If we will doubt, that 
is, if we will not allow evidence to be sufficient for us 
which mainly results, considered in its details, in a 
balance preponderating on the side of Revelation ; if we 
will determine that no evidence is enough to prove re- 
vealed doctrine but what is simply overpowering ; if we 
will not go by evidence in which there are (so to say) a 
score of reasons for Revelation, yet one or two against it, 
we cannot be Christians ; we shall miss Christ either in His 
inspired Scriptures, or in His doctrines, or in His ordi- 


To conclude : our difficulty and its religious solution 
are contained in the sixth chapter of St. John. After 
our Lord had declared what all who heard seemed to feel 
to be a hard doctrine, some in surprise and offence left 
Him. Our Lord said to the Twelve most tenderly, 
" Will ye also go away ? " St. Peter promptly answered, 

250 Scripture and the Creed. 

No : but observe on what ground he put it : " Lord, to 
zvhojn shall we go ? " He did not bring forward evi- 
dences of our Lord's mission, though he knew of such. 
He knew of such in abundance, in the miracles which 
our Lord wrought : but, still, questions might be 
raised about the so-called miracles of others, such as 
of Simon the sorcerer, or of vagabond Jews, or about the 
force of the evidence from miracles itself. This was not 
the evidence on which he rested personally, but this, — that 
if Christ were not to be trusted, there was nothing in the 
world to be trusted ; and this was a conclusion repugnant 
both to his reason and to his heart. He had within him 
ideas of greatness and goodness, holiness and eternity, 
— he had a love of them — he had an instinctive hope 
and longing after their possession. Nothing could con- 
vince him that this unknown good was a dream. Divine 
life, eternal life was the object which his soul, as far 
as it had learned to realize and express its wishes, 
supremely longed for. In Christ he found what he 
wanted. He says, " Lord, to whom shati we go .-• " 
implying he must go somewhere. Christ had asked, 
'^Will ye also go azuay?" He only asked about Peter's 
leaving Himself; but in Peter's thought to leave Him 
was to go somewhere else. He only thought of leaving 
Him by taking another god. That negative state of 
neither believing nor disbelieving, neither acting this way 
nor that, which is so much in esteem now, did not occur 
to his mind as possible. The fervent Apostle ignored 
the existence of scepticism. With him, his course was 
at best but a choice of difficulties — of difficulties perhaps, 
but still a choice. He knew of no course without a 
choice, — choice he must make. Somewhither he must 
go : whither else .'' If Christ could deceive him, to whom 
should he go .-' Christ's v/ays might be dark, His words 

Difficulties of Jew is h and Christian Faith. 251 

often perplexing, but still he found in Him what he found 
nowhere else,— amid difficulties, a realization of his 
inward longings. " Thou hast the words of eternal life." 

So far he saw. He might have misgivings at times ; 
he might have permanent and in themselves insuperable 
objections ; still, in spite of such objections, in spite 
of the assaults of unbelief, on the whole, he saw that 
in Christ which was positive, real, and satisfying. He 
saw it nowhere else. " Thou," he says, " hast the 
words of eternal life ; and we huT/e believed and Jiave 
known that thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living 
God." As if he said, "We will stand by what we 
believed and knew yesterday, — what we believed and 
knew the day before. A sudden gust of new doctrines, 
a sudden inroad of new perplexities, shall not unsettle 
us. We have believed, we have known : we cannot 
collect together all the evidence, but this is the abiding 
deep conviction of our minds. We feel that it is better, 
safer, truer, pleasanter, more blessed to cling to Thy feet, 
O merciful Saviour, than to leave Thee. Thou canst 
not deceive us : it is impossible. We will hope in Thee 
against hope, and believe in Thee against doubt, and 
obey Thee in spite of gloom." 

Now what are the feelings I have described but the 
love of Christ .<* Thus love is the parent of faith.* We 

* [To say that "love is the parent of faith" is true, if by "love" is 
meant, not evangelical charity, the theological virtue, but that desire for the 
knowledge and drawing towards the service of our Maker, which precedes 
religious conversion. Such is the main outline, personally and historically, 
of the inward acceptance of Revelation on the part of individuals, and does 
not at all exclude, but actually requires, the exercise of Reason, and the 
presence of grounds for believing, as an incidental and necessary part of the 
process. The preliminary, called in the text "love," but more exactly, 
a "pia affectio," or " bona voluntas," docs not stand in antagonism or in 
contrast to Reason, but is a sovereign condition without which Reason cannot 
be brought to bear upon the great work in hand. — Vid. Univ. Serm. xii., 20.] 

252 Scripture and the Creed. 

believe in things we see not from love of them : if we 
did not love, we should not believe. Faith is reliance on 
the word of another ; the word of another is in itself a 
faint evidence compared with that of sight or reason. 
It is influential only when we cannot do without it. We 
cannot do without it when it is our informant about 
things which we cannot do without. Things we cannot 
do without, are things which we desire. They who feel 
they cannot do without the next world, go by faith (not 
that sight would not be better), but because they have no 
other means of knowledge to go by. " To whom shall 
they go .-* " If they will not believe the word preached 
to them, what other access have they to the next world ? 
Love of God led St. Peter to follow Christ, and love of 
Christ leads men now to love and follow the Church, as 
His representative and voice. 

Let us then say, If we give up the Gospel, as we have 
received it in the Church, to whom shall we go ? It has 
the words of eternal life in it : where else are they to be 
found .'' Is there any other Religion to choose but that of 
the Church } Shall we go to Mahometanism or Pagan- 
ism ? But we may seek some heresy or sect : true, we 
may ; but why are they more sure .■' are they not a part, 
while the Church is the whole ? Why is the part true, if 
the whole is not .-' Why is not that evidence trustworthy 
for the whole, which is trustworthy for a part .-* Sectaries 
commonly give up the Church doctrines, and go by the 
Church's Bible ; but if the doctrines cannot be proved 
true, neither can the Bible ; they stand or fall together. 
If we begin, we must soon make an end. On what con- 
sistent principle can I give up part and keep the rest .'' 
No : I see a work before me, which professes to be the 
work of that God whose being and attributes I feel with- 
in me to be real. Why should not this great sight be, — 

Difficulties of yewish and Christian Faith. 253 

what it professes to be — His presence ? Why should not 
the Church be divine ? The burden of proof surely is on 
the other side. I will accept her doctrines, and her rites, 
and her Bible, — not one, and not the other, but all, — till 
I have clear proof, which is an impossibility, that she is 
mistaken. It is, I feel, God's will that I should do so ; 
and besides, I love all that belong to her, — I love her 
Bible, her doctrines, her rites, and therefore I believe. 

September, 1838, 



{Addressed to the Editor of the Times. By Catholicus. ) 

Secular Kriowledge in contrast with Religion. 

Sir, — Sir Robert Peel's position in the country, and 
his high character, render it impossible that his words 
and deeds should be other than public property. This 
alone would furnish an apology for my calling the atten- 
tion of your readers to the startling language, which 
many of them doubtless have already observed, in the 
Address which this most excellent and distinguished man 
has lately delivered upon the establishment of a Library 
and Reading-room at Tamworth ; but he has superseded 
the need of apology altogether, by proceeding to present 
it to the public in the form of a pamphlet. His speech, 
then, becomes important, both from the name and the 
express act of its author. At the same time, I must 
allow that he has not published it in the fulness in which 
it was spoken. Still it seems to me right and fair, or 
rather imperative, to animadvert upon it as it has 
appeared in your columns, since in that shape it will 
have the widest circulation. A public man must not 
claim to harangue the whole world in newspapers, and 
then to offer his second thoughts to such as choose to 
buy them at a bookseller's. 

Secular Knowledge not Relinon. 


I shall surprise no one who has carefully read Sir 
Robert's Address, and perhaps all who have not. by 
stating my conviction, that, did a person take it up 
without looking at the heading, he would to a certainty 
set it down as a production of the years 1827 and 1828, 
— the scene Gower Street, the speaker Mr. Brougham or 
Dr. Lushington, and the occasion, the laying the first 
stone, or the inauguration, of the then-called London 
University. I profess myself quite unable to draw any 
satisfactory line of difference between the Gower Street 
and the Tamworth Exhibition, except, of course, that 
Sir Robert's personal religious feeling breaks out in his 
Address across his assumed philosophy. I say assumed, 
I might say affected ; — for I think too well of him to 
believe it genuine. 

On the occasion in question, Sir Robert gave expres- 
sion to a theory of morals and religion, which of course, 
in a popular speech, was not put out in a very dogmatic 
form, but which, when analyzed and fitted together, 
reads somewhat as follows : — 

Human nature, he seems to say, if left to itself, 
becomes sensual and degraded. Uneducated men live 
in the indulgence of their passions ; or, if they are merely 
taught to read, they dissipate and debase their minds 
by trifling or vicious publications. Education is the 
cultivation of the intellect and heart, and Useful Know- 
ledge is the great instrument of education. It is the 
parent of virtue, the nurse of religion ; it exalts man to 
his highest perfection, and is the sufficient scope of his 
most earnest exertions. 

Physical and moral science rouses, transports, exalts, 
enlarges, tranquillizes, and satisfies the mind. Its at- 
tractiveness obtains a hold over us ; the excitement 
attending it supersedes grosser excitements ; it makes 

256 The Tamworth Reading Room. 

us know our duty, and thereby enables us to do it ; by 
taking the mind off itself, it destroys anxiety ; and by 
providing objects of admiration, it soothes and subdues 
us. • 

And, in addition, it is a kind of neutral ground, on 
which men of every shade of politics and religion may 
meet together, disabuse each other of their prejudices, 
form intimacies, and secure co-operation. 

This, it is almost needless to say, is the very theory, 
expressed temperately, on which Mr. Brougham once 
expatiated in the Glasgow and London Universities. 
Sir R. Peel, indeed, has spoken with somewhat of his 
characteristic moderation ; but for his closeness in sen- 
timent to the Brougham of other days, a few parallels 
from their respective Discourses will be a sufficient 

For instance, Mr. Brougham, in his Discourses upon 
Science, and in his Pursuit of Knowledge under Diffi- 
culties,* wrote about the " pure delight " of physical 
knowledge, of its " pure gratification," of its " tendency 
to purify and elevate man's nature," of its "elevating 
and refining it," of its " giving a dignity and importance 
to the enjoyment of life." Sir Robert, pursuing the 
idea, shows us its importance even in death, observing, 
that physical knowledge supplied the thoughts from 
which " a great experimentalist professed in his last 
illness to derive some pleasure and some consolation, 
when most other sources of consolation and pleasure 
were closed to him." 

Mr. Brougham talked much and eloquently of "the 
sweetness of knowledge," and "the charms of philosophy," 
of students "smitten with the love of knowledge," of 

* [This latter work is wrongly ascribed to Lord Brougham in this passage. 
It is, however, of the Brougham school.] 

Secular Knowledcre not Relif[io7i. 257 


*•■ wooing truth with the unwearied ardour of a lover" of 
•' keen and overpowering emotion, of ecstasy" of " the 
2hs,ox\y\ng passion of knowledge," of "the strength of the 
passion, and the exquisite pleasure of its gratificatioti." 
And Sir Robert, in less glowing language, but even in a 
more tender strain than Mr. Brougham, exclaims, " If I 
can only persuade you to enter upon that delightful 
path, I am sanguine enough to believe that there will 
be opened to you gradual charms and temptations which 
will induce you to persevere." 

Mr. Brougham naturally went on to enlarge upon 
" bold and successful adventures in the pursuit ;" — such, 
perhaps, as in the story of Paris and Helen, or Hero 
and Leander ; of daring ambition in its course to 
greatness," of " enterprising spirits," and their " brilliant 
feats," of "adventurers of the world of intellect," and 
of " the illustrious vanquishers of fortune." And Sir 
Robert, not to be outdone, echoes back "aspirations for 
knowledge and distinction," "simple determination of 
overcoming difficulties," " premiums on skill and intel- 
ligence," " mental activity," " steamboats and railroads," 
" producer and consumer," " spirit of inquiry afloat ; " 
and at length he breaks out into almost conventical 
eloquence, crying, " Every newspaper teems with notices 
of publications written upon popular principles, detailing 
all the recent discoveries of science, and their connexion 
with improvements in arts and manufactures. Let me 
earnestly entreat you not to neglect the opportunity which 
we are now willing to afford you ! // will not be our 
fault if the ample page of knowledge, rich with the spoils 
of time, is not unrolled to you ! We tell you',' etc., etc. 

Mr. Brougham pronounces that a man by "learning 
truths wholly new to him," and by "satisfying himself of 
the grounds on which known truths rest," " will enjoy 
* ' 1" 

258 TJie Tamworth Reading Room. 

a proud consciousness of having, by his own exertions 
become a wiser, and therefore a more exalted creature." 
Sir Robert runs abreast of this great sentiment. He 
tells us, in words which he adopts as his own, that a 
man "in becoming wiser will become better:" he will 
"rise at once in the scale of intellectual and moral 
existence, and by being accustomed to such contem- 
plations, he will feel the moral dignity of his nature 

Mr. Brougham, on his inauguration at Glasgow, spoke 
to the ingenuous youth assembled on the occasion, of 
" the benefactors of mankind, when they rest from their 
pious labours, looking down upon the blessings with 
which their toils and sufferings have clothed the scene 
of their former existence ; " and in his Discourse upon 
Science declared it to be " no mean reward of our labour 
to become acquainted with the prodigious genius of 
those who have almost exalted the nature of man 
above his destined sphere ; " and who " hold a station 
apart, rising over all the great teachers of mankind, and 
spoken of reverently, as if Newton and La Place were 
not the names of mortal men." Sir Robert cannot, of 
course, equal this sublime flight ; but he succeeds in 
calling Newton and others " those mighty spirits which 
have made the greatest (though imperfect) advances 
towards the understanding of ' the Divine Nature and 
Power.' " 

Mr. Brougham talked at Glasgow about putting to 
flight the " evil spirits of tyranny and persecution which 
haunted the long night now gone down the sky," and 
about men " no longer suffering themselves to be 
led blindfold in ignorance;" and in his Pursuit of 
Knowledge he speaks of Pascal having, "under the 
influence of certain religious views, during a period of 


Secular Knowledge not Relig ion. 259 

depression, conceived scientific pursuits "to be little 
better than abuse of his time and faculties." Sir Robert, 
fainter in tone, but true to the key, warns his hearers, — 
" Do not be deceived by the sneers that you hear against 
knowledge, which are uttered by men who want to 
depress yon, and keep you depressed to the level of their 
own contented ignorance!' 

Mr. Brougham laid down at Glasgow the infidel 
principle, or, as he styles it, "the great truth," which 
" has gone forth to all the ends of the earth, that man 
shall no more render account to man for his belief, over 
which he has himself no control." And Dr. Lushington 
applied it in Gower Street to the College then and there 
rising, by asking, " Will any one argue for establishing 
a monopoly to be enjoyed by the few who are of one 
denomination of the Christian Church only ? " And he 
went on to speak of the association and union of all 
without exclusion or restriction, of "friendships cementing 
the bond of charity, and softening the asperities which 
igjiorance and separation{o5tQr&d" Long may it be 
before Sir Robert Peel professes the great principle itself! 
even though, as the following passages show, he fs 
inconsistent enough to think highly of its application 
in the culture of the mind. He speaks, for instance, of 
" this preliminary and fundamental rule, that no works 
of controversial divi7iity shall enter into the library 
(applause)," — of " the institution being open to all per- 
sons of all descriptions, without reference to political 
opinions, or religious creed,'' — and of "an edifice in which 
men of all political opinions and all religious feelings 
may unite in the furtherance of knowledge, without the 
asperities of party feeling." Now, that British society 
should consist of persons of different religions, is this a 
positive standing evil, to be endured at best as unavoid- 

26o The Tamwcrth Readino Room. 


able, or a topic of exultation ? Of exultation, answers 
Sir Robert ; the greater differences the better, the more 
the merrier. So we must interpret his tone. 

It is reserved for few to witness the triumph of their 
own opinions ; much less to witness it in the instance 
of their own direct and personal opponents. Whether 
the Lord Brougham of this day feels all that satisfaction 
and inward peace which he attributes to success of what- 
ever kind in intellectual efforts, it is not for me to 
decide ; but that he has achieved, to speak in his own 
style, a mighty victory, and is leading in chains behind 
his chariot-wheels, a great captive, is a fact beyond 

Such is the reward in 1841 for unpopularity in 1827. 

What, however, is a boast to Lord Brougham, is in 
the same proportion a slur upon the fair fame of Sir 
Robert Peel, at least in the judgment of those who have 
hitherto thought well of him. Were there no other 
reason against the doctrine propounded in the Address 
which has been the subject of these remarks, (but I hope 
to be allowed an opportunity of assigning others,) its 
parentage would be a grave priniA facie difficulty in 
receiving it. It is, indeed, most melancholy to see so 
sober and experienced a man practising the antics of 
one of the wildest performers of this wild age ; and 
taking off the tone, manner, and gestures of the versatile 
ex-Chancellor, with a versatility almost equal to his own. 

Yet let him be assured that the task of rivalling such 
a man is hopeless, as well as unprofitable. No one 
can equal the great sophist. Lord Brougham is inimi- 
table in his own line. 



Secular Knowledge not the Principle of Moral 

A DISTINGUISHED Conservative statesman tells us from 
the town-hall of Tam worth that "in becoming wiser a man 
will become better ; " meaning by wiser more conversant 
with the facts and theories of physical science ; and that 
such a man will " rise at once in the scale of intellectual 
and moral QXAsiQncQ." "That," he adds, "is my belief" 
He avows, also, that the fortunate individual whom he is 
describing, by being " accustomed to such contempla- 
tions, will feel the moral dignity of his nature exalted." 
He speaks also of physical knowledge as " being the 
means of useful occupation and rational recreation ; " of 
"the pleasures of knowledge" superseding "the indulg- 
ence of sensual appetite," and of its "contributing to 
the intellectual and moral improvement of the commu- 
nity." Accordingly, he very consistently wishes it to be 
set before " the female as well as the male portion of 
the population ; " otherwise, as he truly observes, " great 
injustice would be done to the well-educated and virtuous 
women " of the place. They are to " have equal power 
and equal influence with others." It will be difficult to 
exhaust the reflections which rise in the mind on reading 
avowals of this nature. 

The first question which obviously suggests itself is 
how these wonderful moral effects are to be wrought 
under the instrumentality of the physical sciences. Can 

262 The Tainworth Rcadi7is[ Room, 


the process be analyzed and drawn out, or does it act 
like a dose or a charm which comes into general use 
empirically ? Does Sir Robert Peel mean to say, that 
whatever be the occult reasons for the result, so it is ; 
you have but to drench the popular mind with physics, 
and moral and religious advancement follows on the 
whole, in spite of individual failures ? Yet where has 
the experiment been tried on so large a scale as to 
justify such anticipations ? Or rather, does he mean, 
that, from the nature of the case, he who is imbued with 
science and literature, unless adverse influences inter- 
fere, cannot but be a better man ? It is natural and 
becoming to seek for some clear idea of the meaning 
of so dark an oracle. To "know is one thing, to do is 
another ; the two things are altogether distinct. A man 
knows he should get up in the morning, — he lies a-bed ; 
he knows he should not lose his temper, yet he cannot 
keep it. A labouring man knows he should not go to 
the ale-house, and his wife knows she should not filch 
when she goes out charing ; but, nevertheless, in these 
cases, the consciousness of a duty is not all one with the 
performance of it. There are, then, large families of 
instances, to say the least, in which men may become 
wiser, without becoming better ; what, then, is the 
meaning of this great maxim in the mouth of its pro- 
mulgators .'' 

Mr. Bentham would answer, that the knowledge which 
carries virtue along with it, is the knowledge how to take 
care of number one — a clear appreciation of what is 
pleasurable, what painful, and what promotes the one 
and prevents the other. An uneducated man is ever 
mistaking his own interest, and standing in the way of 
his own true enjoyments. Useful Knowledge is that 
which tends to make us more useful to ourselves ; — a 

Nor the Principle of Moral Improvement. 263 

most definite and intelligible account of the matter, and 
needing no explanation. But it would be a great 
injustice, both to Lord Brougham and to Sir Robert, 
to suppose, when they talk of Knowledge being Virtue, 
that they are Benthamizing. Bentham had not a spark 
of poetry in him ; on the contrary, there is much of high 
aspiration, generous sentiment, and impassioned feeling 
in the tone of Lord Brougham and Sir Robert. They 
speak of knowledge as something " pulchrum," fair and 
glorious, exalted above the range of ordinary humanity, 
and so little connected with the personal interest of its 
votaries, that, though Sir Robert does obiter talk of 
improved modes of draining, and the chemical properties 
of manure, yet he must not be supposed to come short 
of the lofty enthusiasm of Lord Brougham, who expressly 
panegyrizes certain ancient philosophers who gave up 
riches, retired into solitude, or embraced a life of travel, 
smit with a sacred curiosity about physical or mathema- 
tical truth. 

Here Mr. Bentham, did it fall to him to offer a criticism, 
doubtless would take leave to inquire whether such 
language was anything better than a fine set of words 
" signifying nothing," — flowers of rhetoric, which bloom, 
smell sv/eet, and die. But it is impossible to suspect so 
grave and practical a man as Sir Robert. Peel of using 
words literally without any meaning at all ; and though 
I think at best they have not a very profound meaning, 
yet, such as it is, we ought to attempt to draw it out. 

Now, without using exact theological language, we 
may surely take it for granted, from the experience of 
facts, that the human mind is at best in a very unformed 
or disordered state ; passions and conscience, likings and 
reason, conflicting, — might rising against right, with the 
prospect of things getting worse. Under these circum- 

264 TJie Tamworth Reading Room. 

stances, what is it that the School of philosophy in which 
Sir Robert has enrolled himself proposes to accomplish ? 
Not a victory of the mind over itself — not the supremacy 
of the law — not the reduction of the rebels — not the 
unity of our complex nature — not an harmonizing of the 
chaos — but the mere lulling of the passions to rest by 
turning the course of thought ; not a change of character, 
but a mere removal of temptation. This should be 
carefully observed. When a husband is gloomy, or an 
old woman peevish and fretful, those who are about them 
do all they can to keep dangerous topics and causes of 
offence out of the way, and think themselves lucky, if, 
by such skilful management, they get through the day 
without an outbreak. When a child cries, the nurserymaid 
dances it about, or points to the pretty black horses out 
of window, or shows how ashamed poll-parrot or poor puss 
must be of its tantarums. Such is the sort of prescrip- 
tion which Sir Robert Peel offers to the good people of 
Tamworth. He makes no pretence of subduing the 
giant nature, in which we were born, of smiting the loins 
of the domestic enemies of our peace, of overthrowing 
passion and fortifying reason ; he does but offer to bribe 
the foe for the nonce with gifts which will avail for that 
purpose just so long as they zvill avail, and no longer. 

This was mainly the philosophy of the great Tully, 
except when it pleased him to speak as a disciple of the 
Porch. Cicero handed the recipe to Brougham, and 
Brougham has passed it on to Peel. If we examine the 
old Roman's meaning in " O philosophia^vitce dux" it was 
neither more nor less than this ; — that, wJdle we were 
thinking of philosophy, we were not thinking of anything 
else ; we did not feel grief, or anxiety, or passion, or 
ambition, or hatred all that time, and the only point was 
to keep thinking of it. How to keep thinking of it was 

Nor the Principle of Moral Improvement. 265 

extra artein. If a man was in grief, he was to be amused ; 
if disappointed, to be excited; if in a rage, to be soothed ; 
if in love, to be roused to the pursuit of glory. No 
inward change was contemplated, but a change of exter- 
nal objects ; as if we were all White Ladies or Undines, 
our moral life being one of impulse and emotion, not 
subjected to laws, not consisting in habits, not capable 
of growth. When Cicero was outwitted by Csesar, he 
solaced himself with Plato ; when he lost his daughter, 
he wrote a treatise on Consolation, Such, too, was the 
philosophy of that Lydian city, mentioned by the his- 
torian, who in a famine played at dice to stay their 

And such is the rule of life advocated by Lord 
Brougham ; and though, of course, he protests that know- 
ledge " must invigorate the mind as well as entertain it, 
and refine and elevate the character, while it gives listless- 
ness and weariness their most agreeable excitement and 
relaxation," yet his notions of vigour and elevation, when 
analyzed, will be found to resolve themselves into a mere 
preternatural excitement under the influence of some 
stimulating object, or the peace which is attained by 
there being nothing to quarrel with. He speaks of phi- 
losophers leaving the care of their estates, or declining 
public honours, from the greater desirableness of Know- 
ledge ; envies the shelter enjoyed in the University of 
Glasgow from the noise and bustle of the world ; and, 
apropos of Pascal and Cowper, " so mighty," says he, " is 
the power of intellectual occupation, to make the heart 
forget, for tlie time, its most prevailing griefs, and to 
change its deepest gloom to sunshine." 

Whether Sir Robert Peel meant all this, which others 
before him have meant, it is impossible to say ; but I will 
be bound, if he did not mean this, he meant nothing 

266 The Tamworth Reading Roo7Ji. 

else, and his words will certainly insinuate this meaning, 
wherever a reader is not content to go without any- 
meaning at all. They will countenance, with his high 
authority, what in one form or other is a chief error of 
the day, in very distinct schools of opinion, — that our 
true excellence comes not from within, but from without ; 
not wrought out through personal struggles and suffer- 
ings, but following upon a passive exposure to influences 
over which we have no control. They will countenance 
the theory that diversion is the instrument of improve- 
ment, and excitement the condition of right action ; and 
whereas diversions cease to be diversions if they are con- 
stant, and excitements by their very nature have a crisis 
and run through a course, they will tend to make novelty 
ever in request, and will set the great teachers of morals 
upon the incessant search after stimulants and sedatives, 
by which unruly nature may, pro re natd, be kept in 

Hence, be it observed, Lord Brougham, in the last 
quoted sentence, tells us, with much accuracy of state- 
ment, that " intellectual occupation made the heart " of 
Pascal or Cowper "for the time forget its griefs." He 
frankly offers us a philosophy of expedients : he shows 
us how to live by medicine. Digestive pills half an hour 
before dinner, and a posset at bedtime at the best ; and 
at the worst, dram-drinking and opium, — the very remedy 
against broken hearts, or remorse of conscience, which is 
in request among the many, in gin-palaces not intellectual. 

And if these remedies be but of temporary effect at 
the utmost, more commonly they will have no effect at 
all. Strong liquors, indeed, do for a time succeed in their 
object ; but who was ever consoled in real trouble by 
the small beer of literature or science } " Sir," said 
Rasselas, to the philosopher who had lost his daughter, 

Nor the Principle of Moral Improvement. 267 

" mortality is an event by which a wise man can never 
be surprised." "Young man," answered the mourner, 
" you speak like one that hath never felt the pangs of 
separation. What comfort can truth or reason afford 
me ? of what effect are they now but to tell me that my 
daughter will not be restored ?" Or who was ever made 
more humble or more benevolent by being told, as the 
same practical moralist words it, " to concur with the 
great and unchangeable scheme of universal felicity, and 
co-operate with the general dispensation and tendency 
of the present system of things" ? Or who was made to 
do any secret act of self-denial, or was steeled against 
pain, or peril, by all the lore of the infidel La Place, or 
those other " mighty spirits " which Lord Brougham and 
Sir Robert eulogize ? Or when was a choleric tempera- 
ment ever brought under by a scientific King Canute 
planting his professor's chair before the rising waves ? 
And as to the " keen " and " ecstatic " pleasures which 
Lord Brougham, not to say Sir Robert, ascribes to in- 
tellectual pursuit and conquest, I cannot help thinking 
that in that line they will find themselves outbid in the 
market by gratifications much closer at hand, and on a 
level with the meanest capacity. Sir Robert makes it a 
boast that women are to be members of his institution ; 
it is hardly necessary to remind so accomplished a 
classic, that Aspasia and other learned ladies in Greece 
are no very encouraging precedents in favour of the 
purifying effects of science. But the strangest and most 
painful topic which he urges, is one which Lord Brougham 
has had the good taste altogether to avoid, — the power, 
not of religion, but of scientific knowledge, on a death- 
bed ; a subject which Sir Robert treats in language 
which it is far better to believe is mere oratory than is 
said in earnest. 

268 The Tainworth Reading Room. 

Such is this new art of living, ofifered to the labouring 
classes, — we will say, for instance, in a severe winter, 
snow on the ground, glass falling, bread rising, coal at 
2od. the cwt, and no work. 

It does not require many words, then, to determine 
that, taking human nature as it is actually found, and 
assuming that there is an Art of life, to say that it con- 
sists, or in any essential manner is placed, in the cultiva- 
tion of Knowledge, that the mind is changed by a dis- 
covery, or saved by a diversion, and can thus be amused 
into immortality, — that grief, anger, cowardice, self- 
conceit, pride, or passion, can be subdued by an ex- 
amination of shells or grasses, or inhaling of gases, or 
chipping of rocks, or calculating the longitude, is the 
veriest of pretences which sophist or mountebank ever 
professed to a gaping auditory. If virtue be a mastery 
over the mind, if its end be action, if its perfection be 
inward order, harmony, and peace, we must seek it in 
graver and holier places than in Libraries and Readinp^- 



Secular Knowledge not a direct Means of Moral 

There are two Schools of philosophy, in high esteem, 
at this day, as at other times, neither of them accepting 
Christian principles as the guide of life, yet both of them 
unhappily patronized by many whom it would be the 
worst and most cruel uncharitableness to suspect of un- 
belief. Mr. Bentham is the master of the one ; and Sir 
Robert Peel is a disciple of the other. 

Mr, Bentham's system has nothing ideal about it ; he 
is a stern realist, and he limits his realism to things which 
he can see, hear, taste, touch, and handle. He does not 
acknowledge the existence of anything which he cannot 
ascertain for himself. Exist it may nevertheless, but 
till it makes itself felt, to him it exists not ; till it comes 
down right before him, and he is very short-sighted, it 
is not recognized by him as having a co-existence with 
himself, any more than the Emperor of China is received 
into the European family of Kings. With him a being 
out of sight is a being simply out of mind ; nay, he 
does not allow the traces or glimpses of facts to have any 
claim on his regard, but with him to have a little and 
not much, is to have nothing at all. With him to speak 
truth is to be ready with a definition, and to imagine, to 
guess, to doubt, or to falter, is much the same as to lie. 
What opinion will such an iron thinker entertain of 
Cicero's " glory," or Lord Brougham's " truth," or Sir 

270 The Tamworth Reading Room. 

Robert's "scientific consolations," and all those other 
airy nothings which are my proper subject of remark, 
and which I have in view when, by way of contrast, I 
make mention of the philosophy of Bentham ? And yet 
the doctrine of the three eminent orators, whom I have 
ventured to criticise, has in it much that is far nobler than 
Benthamism ; their misfortune being, not that they look 
for an excellence above the beaten path of life, but that 
whereas Christianity has told us what that excellence is, 
Cicero lived before it was given to the world, and Lord 
Brougham and Sir Robert Peel prefer his involuntary 
error to their own inherited truth. Surely, there is 
something unearthly and superhuman in spite of Ben- 
tham ; but it is not glory, or knowledge, or any abstract 
idea of virtue, but great and good tidings which need 
not here be particularly mentioned, and the pity is, 
that these Christian statesmen cannot be content with 
what is divine without as a supplement hankering after 
what was heathen. 

Now, independent of all other considerations, the 
great difference, in a practical light, between the object 
of Christianity and of heathen belief, is this — that glory, 
science, knowledge, and whatever other fine names we use, 
never healed a wounded heart, nor changed a sinful one ; 
but the Divine Word is with power. The ideas which 
Christianity brings before us are in themselves full of 
influence, and they are attended with a supernatural gift 
over and above themselves, in order to meet the special 
exigencies of our nature. Knowledge is not " power," 
nor is glory " the first and only fair ; " but " Grace," oi 
the " Word," by whichever name we call it, has been 
from the first a quickening, renovating, organizing prin- 
ciple. It has new created the individual, and transferred 
and knit him into a social body, composed of members 

Nor a direct Means of Moral hnprovement. 271 

each similarly created. It has cleansed man of his moral 
diseases, raised him to hope and energy, given him to pro- 
pagate a brotherhood among his fellows, and to found 
a family or rather a kingdom of saints all over the earth ; 
— it introduced a new force into the world, and the im- 
pulse which it gave continues in its original vigour down 
to this day. Each one of us has lit his lamp from his 
neighbour, or received it from his fathers, and the lights 
thus transmitted are at this time as strong and as clear 
as if 1800 years had not passed since the kindling of the 
sacred flame. What has glory or knowledge been able 
to do like this ? Can it raise the dead 1 can it create 
a polity? can it do more than testify man's need and 
typify God's remedy .»* 

And yet, in spite of this, when we have an instrument 
given us, capable of changing the whole man, great 
orators and statesmen are busy, forsooth, with their 
heathen charms and nostrums, their sedatives, correc- 
tives, or restoratives ; as preposterously as if we were to 
build our men-of-war, or conduct our iron-works, on the 
principles approved in Cicero's day. The utmost that 
Lord Brougham seems to propose to himself in the edu- 
cation of the mind, is to keep out bad thoughts by means 
of good — a great object, doubtless, but not so great in 
philosophical conception, as is the destruction of the 
bad in Christian fact. " If it can be a pleasure," he 
says, in his Discourse upon the Objects and Advan- 
tages of Science, "if it can be a pleasure to gratify 
curiosity, to know what we were ignorant of, to have 
our feeli^igs of wonder called forth, liow pure a delight 
of this very kind does natural science hold out to its 
students ! How wonderful are the laws that regulate 
the motions of fluids ! Is there anything in all the 
idle books of tales and horrors, more truly astonish- 

272 The Tmnworth Reading Room. 

ing that the fact, that a few pounds of water may, by 
mere pressure, without any machinery, by merely being 
placed in one particular way, produce very irresistible 
force ? What can be more strange, than that an ounce 
weight should balance hundreds of pounds by the in- 
tervention of a few bars of thin iron ? Can anything, sur- 
prise us more than to find that the colour white is a 
mixture of all others ? that water should be chiefly com- 
posed of an inflammable substance ? Akin to this 
pleasure of contemplating new and extraordinary truths 
is the gratification of a more learned curiosity, by tracing 
resemblances and relations between things which to com- 
mon apprehension seem widely different," etc., etc. And 
in the same way Sir Robert tells us even of a de^'out 
curiosity. In all cases curiosity is the means, diversion 
of mind the highest end ; and though of course I will 
not assert that Lord Brougham, and certainly not that 
Sir Robert Peel, denies any higher kind of morality, 
yet when the former rises above Benthamism, in which 
he often indulges, into what may be called Broughamism 
proper, he commonly grasps at nothing more real and 
substantial than these Ciceronian ethics. 

In morals, as in physics, the stream cannot rise higher 
than its source. Christianity raises men from earth, for 
it comes from heaven ; but human morality creeps, 
struts, or frets upon the earth's level, without wmgs to 
rise. The Knowledge School does not contemplate rais- 
ing man above himself; it merely aims at disposing of 
his existing powers and tastes, as is most convenient, or 
is practicable under circumstances. It finds him, like the 
victims of the French Tyrant, doubled up in a cage in 
which he can neither lie, stand, sit, nor kneel, and its 
highest desire is to find an attitude in which his unrest 
may be least. Or it finds him like some musical instru- 

N^or a direct Means of Moral Improvement. 273 

ment, of great power and compass, but imperfect ; from 
its very structure some keys must ever be out of tune, 
and its object, when ambition is highest, is to throw the 
fault of its nature where least it will be observed. It leaves 
man where it found him — man, and not an Angel — a 
sinner, not a Saint ; but it tries to make him look as 
much like what he is not as ever it can. The poor in- 
dulge in low pleasures ; they use bad language, swear 
loudly and recklessly, laugh at coarse jests, and are rude 
and boorish. Sir Robert would open on them a wider 
range of thought and more intellectual objects, by teaching 
them science ; but what warrant will he give us that, if 
his object could be achieved, what they would gain in 
decency they would not lose in natural humility and 
faith ? If so, he has exchanged a gross fault for a more 
subtle one. *' Temperance topics " stop drinking ; let 
us suppose it ; but will much be gained, if those who 
give up spirits take to opium .'' Naturam cxpcllas furcd, 
tamen usque recurrei, is at least a heathen truth, and 
universities and libraries which recur to heathenism may 
reclaim it from the heathen for their motto. 

Nay, everywhere, so far as human nature remains 
hardly or partially Christianized, the heathen law remains 
in force ; as is felt in a measure even in the most reli- 
gious places and societies. Even there, where Christi- 
anity has power, the venom of the old Adam is not 
subdued. Those who have to do with our Colleges give 
us their experience, that in the case of the young com- 
mitted to their care, external discipline may change the 
fashionable excess, but cannot allay the principle of sin- 
ning. Stop cigars, they will take to drinking parties ; 
stop drinking, they gamble ; stop gambling, and a worse 
license follows. You do not get rid of vice by human 
expedients ; you can but use them according to circum- 

V 18 

2 74 The Tamworth Reading Room. 

stances, and in their place, as making the best of a bad 
matter. You must go to a higher source for renovation 
of the heart and of the will. You do but play a sort of 
" hunt the slipper " with the fault of our nature, till you 
go to Christianity. 

I say, you must use human methods in their place, and 
there they are useful ; but they are worse than useless out 
of their place. I have no fanatical wish to deny to an}- 
whatever subject of thought or method of reason a place 
altogether, if it chooses to claim it, in the cultivation of 
the mind. Mr. Bentham may despise verse-making, or 
Mr. Dugald Stewart logic, but the great and true maxim 
is to sacrifice none — to combine, and therefore to adjust, 
all. All cannot be first, and therefore each has its place, 
and the problem is to find it. It is at least not a lighter 
mistake to make what is secondary first, than to leave 
it out altogether. Here then it is that the Knowledge 
Society, Gower Street College, Tamworth Reading-room, 
Lord Brougham and Sir Robert Peel, are all so deplor- 
ably mistaken. Christianity, and nothing short of it, 
must be made the element and principle of all education. 
Where it has been laid as the first stone, and acknow- 
ledged as the governing spirit, it will take up into itself, 
assimilate, and give a character to literature and science. 
Where Revealed Truth has given the aim and direction 
to Knowledge, Knowledge of all kinds .will minister to 
Revealed Truth. The evidences of Religion, natural 
theology, metaphysics, — or, again, poetry, history, and 
the classics, — or physics and mathematics, may all be 
grafted into the mind of a Christian, and give and take 
by the grafting. But if in education we begin with 
nature before grace, with evidences before faith, with 
science before conscience, with poetry before practice, 
we shall be doing much the same as if we were to 

Nor a direct Means of Moral Improvement. 275 

indulge the appetites and passions, and turn a deaf ear 
to the reason. In each case we misplace what in its 
place is a divine gift. If we attempt to effect a moral 
improvement by means of poetry, we shall but mature 
into a mawkish, frivolous, and fastidious sentimentalism ; 
— if by means of argument, into a dry, unamiable long- 
headedness ; — if by good society, into a polished outside, 
with hoUowness within, in which vice has lost its gross- 
ness, and perhaps increased its malignity; — if by experi- 
mental science, into an uppish, supercilious temper, 
much inclined to scepticism. But reverse the order of 
things : put Faith first and Knowledge second ; let the 
University minister to the Church, and then classical 
poetry becomes the type of Gospel truth, and physical 
science a comment on Genesis or Job, and Aristotle 
changes into Butler, and Arcesilas into Berkeley.* 

Far from recognizing this principle, the teachers of the 
Knowledge School would educate from Natural Theology 
up to Christianity, and would amend the heart through 
literature and philosophy. Lord Brougham, as if faith 
came from science, gives out that " henceforth nothing 
shall prevail over us to praise or to blame any one for " 
his belief, " which he can no more change than he can 
the hue of his skin, or the height of his stature." And 
Sir Robert, whose profession and life give the lie to his 
philosophy, founds a library into which "no works of 
controversial divinity shall enter," that is, no Christian 
doctrine at all ; and he tells us that '* an increased saga- 
city will make men not merely believe in the cold 
doctrines of Natural Religion, but that it will so prepare 

* [On the supremacy of each science in its own field of thought, 
and the encroachments upon it of other sciences, vide the author's 
"University Teaching," Disc. 3, and "University Subjects," No. 7 and 

276 The Tamworth Reading Room. 

and temper the spirit and understanding that they will be 
better qualified to comprehend the great scheme of human 
redemption." And again, Lord Brougham considers that 
" the pleasures of science tend not only to make our lives 
more agreeable, but better;" and Sir Robert responds, 
that " he entertains the hope that there will be the means 
afforded of useful occupation and rational recreation; that 
men will prefer the pleasures of knowledge above the 
indulgence of sensual appetite, and that there is a 
prospect of contributing to the intellectual and moral 
improvement of the neighbourhood." 

Can the nineteenth century produce no more robust 
and creative philosophy than this ? 



Secular Knowledge not the Antecedent of Moral 

Human nature wants recasting, but Lord Brougham 
is all for tinkering it. He does not despair of making 
something of it yet. He is not, indeed, of those who 
think that reason, passion, and whatever else is in us, are 
made right and tight by the principle of self-interest. 
He understands that something more is necessary for 
man's happiness than self-love ; he feels that man has 
affections and aspirations which Bentham does not take 
account of, and he looks about for their legitimate 
objects. Christianity has provided these; but, un- 
happily, he passes them by. He libels them with the 
name of dogmatism, and conjures up instead the 
phantoms of Glory and Knowledge ; idola theatri, as his 
famous predecessor calls them. " There are idols," says 
Lord Bacon, "which have got into the human mind, 
from the different tenets of philosophers, and the per- 
verted laws of demonstration. And these we denomi- 
nate idols of the theatre ; because all the philosophies 
that have been hitherto invented or received, are but so 
many stage plays, written or acted, as having shown 
nothing but fictitious and theatrical worlds. Idols of 
the theatre, or theories, are many, and will probably 
grow much more numerous ; for if men had not, through 
many ages, been prepossessed ivitli religion and tJieology, 

278 'The Taviworth Reading Room. 

and if civil governments, but particularly monarchies," 
(and, I suppose, their ministers, counsellors, functionaries, 
inclusive,) " had not been averse to innovations of this kindy 
though but intended, so as to make it dangerous and 
prejudicial to the private fortunes of such as take the 
bent of innovating, not only by depriving them ot 
advantages, but also of exposing them to contempt 
and hatred, there would doubtless have been mimeroiis 
other sects of philosophies and theories, introduced, of kin 
to those that in great variety formerly flourished among 
the Greeks. And these theatrical fables have this in 
common with dramatic pieces, that the fictitious narrative 
is neater, more elegant and pleasing, than the true 

I suppose we may readily grant that the science of 
the day is attended by more lively interest, and issues in 
more entertaining knowledge, than the study of the New 
Testament. Accordingly, Lord Brougham fixes upon 
such science as the great desideratum of human nature, 
and puts aside faith under the nickname of opinion. I 
wish Sir Robert Peel had not fallen into the snare, in- 
sulting doctrine by giving it the name of " controversial 

However, it will be said that Sir Robert, in spite of 
such forms of speech, differs essentially from Lord 
Brougham : for he goes on, in the latter part of the 
Address which has occasioned these remarks, to speak 
of Science as leading to Christianity. " I can never 
think it possible," he says, "that a m.ind can be so 
constituted, that after being familiarized with the great 
truth of observing in every object of contemplation that 
nature presents the manifest proofs of a Divine Intel- 
ligence, if you range even from the organization of the 
meanest weed you trample upon, or of the insect that 

Nor the Antecedent of Moral Iniprovemerit. 279 

lives but for an hour, up to the magnificent structure of 
the heavens, and the still more wonderful phenomena of 
the soul, reason, and conscience of man ; I cannot believe 
that any man, accustomed to such contemplations, can 
return from them with any other feelings than those of 
enlarged conceptions of the Divine Power, and greater 
reverence for the name of the Almighty Creator of the 
universe." A long and complicated sentence, and no 
unfitting emblem of the demonstration it promises. It 
sets before us a process and deduction. Depend on it, it 
is not so safe a road and so expeditious a journey from 
premiss and conclusion as Sir Robert anticipates. The 
way is long, and there are not a few half-way houses 
and traveller's rests along it ; and who is to warrant that 
the members of the Reading-room and Library will 
go steadily on to the goal he would set before them ? 
And when at length they come to " Christianity," pray 
how do the roads lay between it and " controversial 
divinity"? Or, grant the Tamworth readers to begin 
with " Christianity" as well as science, the same question 
suggests itself. What is Christianity ? Universal bene- 
volence .-' Exalted morality .'' Supremacy of law .'' 
Conservatism ? An age of light ? An age of reason .'' — 
Which of them all ? 

Most cheerfully do I render to so religious a man as 
Sir Robert Peel the justice of disclaiming any insinua- 
tion on my part, that he has any intention at all to put 
aside Religion ; yet his words either mean nothing, or 
they do, both on their surface, and when carried into 
effect, mean something very irreligious. 

And now for one plain proof of this. 

It, is certain, then, that the multitude of men have 
neither time nor capacity for attending to many subjects. 
If they attend to one, they will not attend to the other ; 

28o The Tamworth Reading Room. 

if they give their leisure and curiosity to this world, they 
will have none left for the next. We cannot be every- 
thing ; as the poet says, " non omnia possuvius onmes." 
We must make up our minds to be ignorant of much, if 
we would know anything. And we must make our choice 
between risking Science, and risking Religion. Sir Robert 
indeed says, " Do not believe that you have not time 
for rational recreation. It is the idle man who wants 
time for everything." However, this seems to me 
rhetoric ; and what I have said to be the matter of fact, 
for the truth of which I appeal, not to argument, but to 
the proper judges of facts, — common sense and practical 
experience ; and if they pronounce it to be a fact, then 
Sir Robert Peel, little as he means it, does unite with 
Lord Brougham in taking from Christianity what he 
gives to Science. 

I will make this fair offer to both of them. Every 
member of the Church Established shall be eligible 
to the Tamworth Library on one condition — that he 
brings from the "public minister of religion," to use Sir 
Robert's phrase, a ticket in witness of his proficiency in 
Christian knowledge. We will have no " controversial 
divinity" in the Library, but a little out of it. If the 
gentlemen of the Knowledge School will but agree to 
teach town and country Religion first, they shall have a 
carte blanche from me to teach anything or everything 
else second. Not a word has been uttered or intended 
in these Letters against Science ; I would treat it, as 
they do 7iot treat " controversial divinity," with respect 
and gratitude. They caricature doctrine under the 
name of controversy. I do not nickname science in- 
fidelity. I call it by their own name, " useful and 
entertaining knowledge;" and I call doctrine "Christian 
knowledge:" and, as thinking Christianity something 

Nor the Antecedent of Moral Improveincnt. 281 

more than useful and entertaining, I want faith to come 
first, and utility and amusement to follow. 

That persons indeed are found in all classes, high and 
low, busy and idle, capable of proceeding from sacred to 
profane knowledge, is undeniable ; and it is desirable 
they should do so. It is desirable that talent for 
particular departments in literature and science should 
be fostered and turned to account, wherever it is 
found. But what has this to do with this general 
canvass of " all persons of all descriptions without refer- 
ence to religious creed, who shall have attained the 
age of fourteen " ? Why solicit " the working classes, 
without distinction of party, political opinion, or religious 
profession ; " that is, whether they have heard of a God 
or no ? Whence these cries rising on our ears, of " Let 
me entreat you ! " " Neglect not the opportunity ! " 
" It will not be our fault ! " " Here is an access for you!" 
very like the tones of a street preacher, or the cad of an 
omnibus, — little worthy of a great statesman and a 
religious philosopher ? 

However, the Tamworth Reading-room admits of one 
restriction, which is not a little curious, and has no very 
liberal sound. It seems that all "virtuous women" 
may be members of the Library ; that "great injustice 
would be done to the well-ediieated and virtuous women 
of the town and neighbourhood " had they been excluded. 
A very emphatic silence is maintained about women not 
virtuous. What does this mean .-' Does it mean to 
exclude them, while bad men are admitted } Is this 
accident, or design, sinister and insidious, against a 
portion of the community ? What has virtue to do with 
a Reading-room ? It is to make its members virtuous ; 
it is to " exalt the moral dignity of their nature ; " it is 
to provide "charms and temptations" to allure them 

282 TJie Tamworth Reading Room. 

from sensuality and riot. To whom but to the vicious 
ought Sir Robert to d\£COurse about " opportunities," 
and " access," and " moral improvement ;" and who else 
would prove a fitter experiment, and a more glorious 
triumph, of scientific influences ? And yet he shuts out 
all but the well-educated and virtuous. 

Alas, that bigotry should have left the mark of its hoof 
on the great " fundamental principle of the Tamworth 
Institution " ! Sir Robert Peel is bound in consistency 
to attempt its obliteration. But if that is impossible, as 
many will anticipate, why, O why, while he is about it, 
why will he not give us just a little more of it ? Cannot 
we prevail on him to modify his principle, and to admit 
into his library none but " well-educated and virtuous " 
men f 


Secular Knowledge 7iot a Principle of Social Unity. 

Sir Robert Peel proposes to establish a Library which 
" shall be open to all persons of all descriptions, without 
reference to political opinions or to religious creed." He 
invites those who are concerned in manufactories, or 
who have many workmen, " without distinction of party, 
political opinions, or religious profession." He promises 
that "in the selection of subjects for public lectures 
everything calculated to excite religious or political 
animosity shall be excluded." Nor is any "discussion 
on matters connected with religion, politics, or local 
party differences" to be permitted in the reading-room. 
And he congratulates himself that he has "laid the 
foundation of an edifice in which men of all political 
opinions and of all religious feelings may unite in fur- 
therance of Knowledge, without the asperities of " party 
feeling." In these statements religious difference are made 
synonymous with " party feeling ;" and, whereas the tree 
is "known by its fruit," their characteristic symptoms 
are felicitously described as " asperities," and " animosi- 
ties." And, in order to teach us more precisely what 
these differences are worth, they are compared to differ- 
ences between Whig and Tory — nay, even to "local 
party differences ; " such, I suppose, as about a munici- 
pal election, or a hole-and-corner meeting, or a parish 
job, or a bill in Parliament for a railway. 

But, to give him the advantage of the more honour- 

284 The Tamworth Reading Room. 

able parallel of the two, are religious principles to be put 
upon a level even with political ? Is it as bad to be a 
republican as an unbeliever ? Is it as magnanimous to 
humour a scoffer as to spare an opponent in the House ? 
Is a difference about the Reform Bill all one with a 
difference about the Creed ? Is it as polluting to hear 
arguments for Lord Melbourne as to hear a scoff against 
the Apostles ? To a statesman, indeed, like Sir Robert, 
to abandon one's party is a far greater sacrifice than to 
unparliamentary men ; and it would be uncandid to 
doubt that he is rather magnifying politics than degrad- 
ing Religion in throwing them together ; but still, when 
he advocates concessions in theology and politics, he 
must be plainly told to make presents of things that 
belong to him, nor seek to be generous with other 
people's substance. There are entails in more matters 
than parks and old places. He made his politics for 
himself, but Another made theology. 

Christianity is faith, faith implies a doctrine ; a doctrine 
propositions ; propositions yes or no, yes or no differences. 
Differences, then, are the natural attendants on Christi- 
anity, and you cannot have Christianity, and not have 
differences. When, then, Sir Robert Peel calls such 
differences points of " party feeling," what is this but to 
insult Christianity ? Yet so cautious, so correct a man, 
cannot have made such a sacrifice for nothing ; nor does 
he long leave us in doubt what is his inducement. He 
tells us that his great aim is the peace and good order of 
the community, and the easy working of the national 
machine. With this in view, any price is cheap, every- 
thing is marketable ; all impediments are a nuisance. 
He does not undo for undoing's sake; he gains more 
than an equivalent. It is a mistake, too, to say that he 
considers all differences of opinion as equal in import- 

Nor a Principle of Social Unity. 285 

ance ; no, they are only equally in the way. He only 
compares them together where they are comparable, — 
in their common inconvenience to a minister of State. 
They may be as little homogeneous as chalk is to 
cheese, or Macedon to Monmouth, but they agree in 
interfering with social harmony ; and, since that har- 
mony is the first of goods and the end of life, what is 
left us but to discard all that disunites us, and to culti- 
vate all that may amalgamate ? 

Could Sir Robert have set a more remarkable example 
of self-sacrifice than in thus becoming the disciple of his 
political foe, accepting from Lord Brougham his new 
principle of combination, rejecting Faith for the fulcrum 
of Society, and proceeding to rest it upon Knowledge } 

" I cannot help thinking," he exclaims at Tamworth, 
" that dy bringing together in an institution of this kind 
intelligent men of all classes and conditions of life, by 
uniting together, in the committee of this institution, the 
gentleman of ancient family and great landed posses- 
sions with the skilful mechanic and artificer of good 
character, I cannot help believing that we are harmoniz- 
ing the gradations of society, and binding men together 
by a new bond, which will have more tJian ordinary 
strength on account of the object which unites us." The 
old bond, he seems to say, was Religion ; Lord Brougham's 
is Knowledge. Faith, once the soul of social union, is 
now but the spirit of division. Not a single doctrine but is 
"controversial divinity;" not an abstraction can be ima- 
gined (could abstractions constrain), not a comprehen- 
sion projected (could comprehensions connect), but will 
leave out one or other portion or element of the social 
fabric. We must abandon Religion, if we aspire to be 
statesmen. Once, indeed, it was a living power, kindling 
hearts, leavening them with one idea, moulding them on 

286 Tiie Tamworth Readiiior Roovi. 


one model, developing them into one polity. Ere now 
it has been the life of morality : it has given birth to 
heroes ; it has wielded empire. But another age has 
come in, and Faith is effete ; let us submit to what we 
cannot change ; let us not hang over our dead, but bury 
it out of sight. Seek we out some young and vigorous 
principle, rich in sap, and fierce in life, to give form to 
elements which are fast resolving into their inorganic 
chaos ; and where shall we find such a principle but in 
Knowledge ? 

Accordingly, though Sir Robert somewhat chivalrously 
battles for the appointment upon the Book Committee of 
what he calls two " public ministers of religion, holding 
prominent and responsible offices, endowed by the State," 
and that ex officio, yet he is untrue to his new principle 
only in appearance : for he couples his concession with 
explanations, restrictions, and safeguards quite sufficient 
to prevent old Faith becoming insurgent against young 
Knowledge. First he takes his Vicar and Curate as 
"conversant with literary subjects and with literary 
works," and then as having duties " immediately con- 
nected with the moral condition and improvement" of 
the place. Further he admits "it is perfectly right to 
he jealous of all power held by such a tenure:" and he 
insists on the "fundamental" condition that these sacred 
functionaries shall permit no doctrinal works to be in- 
troduced or lectures to be delivered. Lastly, he reserves 
in the general body the power of withdrawing this in- 
dulgence " if the existing checks be not sufficient, and 
the power be abused," — abused, that is, by the vicar 
and curate ; also he desires to secure Knowledge from 
being perverted to "evil or immoral purposes" — such 
perversion of course, if attempted, being the natural 

Nor a Principle of Social Unity. 287 

antithesis, or pendant, to the vicar's contraband intro- 
troduction of the doctrines of Faith. 

Lord Brougham will make all this clearer to us. A 
work of high interest and varied information, to which 
I have already referred, is attributed to him, and at 
least is of his school, in which the ingenious author, who- 
ever he is, shows how Knowledge can do for Society 
what has hitherto been supposed the prerogative of Faith. 
As to Faith and its preachers, he had already compli- 
mented them at Glasgow, as "the evil spirits of tyranny 
and persecution," and had bid them good morning as 
the scared and dazzled creatures of the " long night now 
gone down the sky." 

"The great truth," he proclaimed in language borrowed 
from the records of faith (for after parsons no men quote 
Scripture more familiarly than Liberals and Whigs), has 
finally gone forth to all the ends of the earth, that man 
shall no more render account to man for his belief, over 
which he has himself no control. Henceforth nothing 
shall prevail on us to praise or to blame any one for that 
which he can no more change than he can the hue of 
his skin or the height of his stature." And then he or 
his scholar proceeds to his new Vit(B Sanctorum, or, as 
he calls it, "Illustrations of the Pursuit of Knowledge ;" 
and, whereas the badge of Christian saintliness is con- 
flict, he writes of the " Pursuit of Knowledge under diffi- 
culties ;'' and, whereas this Knowledge is to stand in the 
place of Religion, he assumes a hortatory tone, a species 
of eloquence in which decidedly he has no rival but Sir 
Robert. " Knowledge," he says, " is happiness, as well 
as power and virtue;" and he demands "the dedication 
of our faculties" to it. "The struggle,'' he gravely 
observes, which its disciple "has to wage may be a 

288 The Ta7nworth Readmg Room. 

protracted, but it ought not to be a cheerless one : for, 1/ 
he do not relax his exertions, every movement he makes is 
necessarily a step forzvard, if not towards that distinction 
which intellectual attainments sometimes confer, at least 
to that inward satisfaetion and enjoyment which, is always 
their reward. No one stands in the way of another, or 
can deprive him of any part of his chance, we should 
rather say of his certainty, of success ; on the contrary, 
they are all fellow-zvorkers, and may materially help eaeh 
other forward." And he enumerates in various places 
the virtues which adorn the children of Knowledge — 
ardour united to humility, childlike alacrity, teachable- 
ness, truthfulness, patience, concentration of attention, 
husbandry of time, self-denial, self-command, and 

Faith, viewed in its history through past ages, presents 
us with the fulfilment of one great idea in particular — 
that, namely, of an aristocracy of exalted spirits, drawn 
together out of all countries, ranks, and ages, raised 
above the condition of humanity, specimens of the capa- 
bilities of our race, incentives to rivalry and patterns for 
imitation. This Christian idea Lord Brougham has 
borrowed for his new Pantheon, which is equally various 
in all attributes and appendages of mind, with this one 
characteristic in all its specimens, — the pursuit of Know- 
ledge. Some of his worthies are low born, others of 
high degree ; some are in Europe, others in the Anti- 
podes ; som.e in the dark ages, others in the ages of 
hght; some exercise a voluntary, others an involuntary 
toil ; some give up riches, and others gain them ; some 
are fixtures, and others adventure much ; some are pro- 
fligate, and others ascetic ; and some are believers, and 
others are infidels. 

Alfred, severely good and Christian, takes his place in 

N'or a Principle of Social Unity, 289 

this new hagiology beside the gay and graceful Lorenzo 
de Medicis ; for did not the one " import civilization into 
England," and was not the other " the wealthy and 
munificent patron of all the liberal arts " ? Edward VI. 
and Haroun al Raschid, Dr. Johnson and Dr. Franklin, 
Newton and Protagoras, Pascal and Julian the Apostate, 
Joseph Milner and Lord Byron, Cromwell and Ovid, 
Bayle and Boyle, Adrian pope and Adrian emperor. 
Lady Jane Grey and Madame Roland, — human beings 
who agreed in nothing but in their humanity and in their 
love of Knowledge, are all admitted by this writer to 
one beatification, in proof of the Catholic character of 
his substitute for Faith. 

The persecuting Marcus is a " good and enlightened 
emperor," and a "delightful" spectacle, when "mixing in 
the religious processions and ceremonies" of Athens, 
" re-building and re-endowing the schools," whence St. 
Paul was driven in derision. The royal Alphery, on 
the contrary, "preferred his humble parsonage" to the 
throne of the Czars. West was " nurtured among the 
quiet and gentle affections of a Quaker family." Kirke 
White's "feelings became ardently devotional, and he 
determined to give up his life to the preaching of Chris- 
tianity." Roger Bacon was "a brother of the Franciscan 
Order, at that time the great support and ornament of 
both Universities." Belzoni seized "the opportunity" of 
Bonaparte's arrival in Italy to " throw off his monastic 
habit," " its idleness and obscurity," and to engage himself 
as a performer at Astley's. Duval, "a very able anti- 
quarian of the last century," began his studies as a peasant 
boy, and finished them in a Jesuits' College. Mr. Davy, 
" having written a system of divinity," effected the 
printing of it in thirteen years " with a press of his own 
construction," and the assistance of his female servant, 


290 The Tamworih Reading Roo7n. 

working off page by page for twenty-six volumes 8vo, of 
nearly 500 pages each. Raleigh, in spite of "immoderate 
ambition," was " one of the very chief glories of an age 
crowded with towering spirits." 

Nothing comes amiss to this author ; saints and 
sinners, the precious and the vile, are torn from their 
proper homes and recklessly thrown together under the 
category of Knowledge. 'Tis a pity he did not extend 
his view, as Christianity has done, to beings out of sight 
of man. Milton could have helped him to some angelic 
personages, as patrons and guardians of his intellectual 
temple, who of old time, before faith had birth, 

" Apart sat on a hill retired 
In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned high 
Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate, 
Passion and apathy, and glory, and shame, — 
Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy." 

And, indeed, he does make some guesses that way, 
speaking most catholically of being " admitted to a 
fellowship with those loftier minds " who " by universal 
consent held a station apart^' and are " spoken of rever- 
ently," as if their names were not those "of mortal men;" 
and he speaks of these " benefactors of mankind, when 
they rest from their pious labours, looking down " upon 
the blessings with which their " toils and sufferings have 
clothed the scene of their former existence." 

Such is the oratory which has fascinated Sir Robert ; 
yet we must recollect that in the year 1832, even the 
venerable Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge 
herself, catching its sound, and hearing something about 
sublimity, and universality, and brotherhood, and effort, 
and felicity, was beguiled into an admission of this 
singularly irreligious work into the list of publications 

Nor a Principle of Social Utiity. 291 

which she had delegated to a Committee to select in 
usiini laicoruni. 

That a Venerable Society should be caught by the 
vision of a Church Catholic is not wonderful ; but what 
could possess philosophers and statesmen to dazzle her 
with it, bMt man's need of some such support, and the 
divine excellence and sovereign virtue of that which 
Faith once created ? 


Secular Knowledge not a Principle of Action. 

People say to me, that it is but a dream to suppose 
that Christianity should regain the organic power in 
human society which once it possessed. I cannot help 
that ; I never said it could, I am not a politician ; I 
am proposing no measures, but exposing a fallacy, and 
resisting a pretence. Let Benthamism reign, if men have 
no aspirations ; but do not tell them to be romantic, 
and then solace them with glory ; do not attempt by 
philosophy what once was done by religion. The 
ascendency of Faith may be impracticable, but the 
reign of Knowledge is incomprehensible. The problem 
for statesmen of this age is how to educate the masses, 
and literature and science cannot give the solution. 

Not so deems Sir Robert Peel ; his firm belief and 
hope is, " that an increased sagacity will administer to 
an exalted faith ; that it will make men not merely 
believe in the cold doctrines of Natural Religion, but that 
it will so prepare and temper the spirit and understand- 
ing, that they will be better qualified to comprehend the 
great scheme of human redemption." He certainly 
thinks that scientific pursuits have some considerable 
power of impressing religion upon the mind of the mul- 
titude. I think not, and will now say why. 

Science gives us the grounds or premisses from which 
religious truths are to be inferred ; but it does not set about 
inferring them, much less does it reach the inference; — that 

N'or a Principle of Action. 293 

IS not its province. It brings tefore us phenomena, and it 
leaves us, if we will, to call them works of design, wisdom, 
or benevolence ; and further still, if we will, to proceed 
to confess an Intelligent Creator. We have to take its 
facts, and to give them a meaning, and to draw our own 
conclusions from them. First comes Knowledge, then 
a view, then reasoning, and then belief. This is why- 
Science has so little of a religious tendency ; deductions 
have no power of persuasion. The heart is commonly 
reached, not through the reason, but through the imagi- 
nation, by means of direct impressions, by the testimony 
of facts and events, by history, by description. Persons 
influence us, voices melt us, looks subdue us, deeds 
inflame us. Many a man will live and die upon a 
dogma : no man will be a martyr for a conclusion. A 
conclusion is but an opinion ; it is not a thing which is, 
but which we are ''certain about ; " and it has often been 
observed, that we never say we are certain without 
implying that we doubt. To say that a thing must be, 
is to admit that it may not be. No one, I say, will die 
for his own calculations ; he dies for realities. This is 
why a literary religion is so little to be depended upon ; 
it looks well in fair weather, but its doctrines are opinions, 
and, when called to suffer for them, it slips them between 
its folios, or burns them at its hearth. And this again is 
the secret of the distrust and raillery with which moral- 
ists have been so commonly visited. They say and do 
not. Why .? Because they are contemplating the fitness 
of things, and they live by the square, when they should 
be realizing their high maxims in the concrete. Now Sir 
Robert thinks better of natural history, chemistry, and 
astronomy, than of such ethics ; but they too, what are 
they more than divinity in posse ? He protests against 
" controversial divinity ; " is inferential much better ? 

294 The Tmjiworth Reading Room. 

I have no confidence, ' then, in philosophers who 
cannot help being religious, and are Christians by im- 
plication. They sit at home, and reach forward to 
distances which astonish us ; but they hit without grasp- 
ing, and are sometimes as confident about shadows as 
about realities. They have worked out by a calculation 
the lie of a country which they never saw, and mapped 
it by means of a gazetteer; and like blind men, though 
they can put a stranger on his way, they cannot walk 
straight themselves, and do not feel it quite their business 
to walk at all. 

Logic makes but a sorry rhetoric with the multitude ; 
first shoot round corners, and you may not despair of 
converting by a syllogism. Tell men to gain notions of 
a Creator from His works, and, if they were to set about 
it (which nobody does), they would be jaded and wearied 
by the labyrinth they were tracing. Their minds would 
be gorged and surfeited by the logical operation. Logi- 
cians are more set upon concluding rightly, than on right 
conclusions. They cannot see the end for the process. 
Few men have that power of mind which may hold fast 
and firmly a variety of thoughts. We ridicule " men of 
one idea ; " but a great many of us are born to be such, 
and we should be happier if we knew it. To most men 
argument makes the point in hand only more doubtful, 
and considerably less impressive. After all, man is not 
a reasoning animal ; he is a seeing, feeling, contemplating, 
acting animal. He is influenced by what is direct and 
precise. It is very well to freshen our impressions and 
convictions from physics, but to create them we must go 
elsewhere. Sir Robert Peel " never can think it possible 
that a mind can be so constituted, that, after being 
familiarized with the wonderful discoveries which have 
been made in every part of experimental science, it can 

Nor a Pri7iciple of Action. 295 

retire from such contemplations without more enlarged 
conceptions of God's providence, and a higher reverence 
for His name." If he speaks of religious minds, he 
perpetrates a truism ; if of irreligious, he insinuates a 

Life is not long enough for a religion of inferences ; we 
shall never have done beginning, if we determine to begin 
with proof We shall ever be laying our foundations ; 
we shall turn theology into evidences, and divines into 
textuaries. We shall never get at our first principles. 
Resolve to believe nothing, and you must prove your 
proofs and analyze your elements, sinking further and 
further, and finding " in the lowest depth a lower deep," 
till you come to the broad bosom of scepticism. I would 
rather be bound to defend the reasonableness of assuming 
that Christianity is true, than to demonstrate a moral 
governance from the physical world. Life is for action. 
If we insist on proofs for everything, we shall never 
come to action : to act you must assume, and that 
assumption is faith. 

Let no one suppose that in saying this I am maintain- 
ing that all proofs are equally difficult, and all proposi- 
tions equally debatable. Some assumptions are greater 
than others, and some doctrines involve postulates larger 
than others, and more numerous. I only say that im- 
pressions lead to action, and that reasonings lead from 
it. Knowledge of premisses, and inferences upon them, 
— this is not to live. It is very well as a matter of liberal 
curiosity and of philosophy to analyze our modes of 
thought ; but let this come second, and when there is 
leisure for it, and then our examinations will in many 
ways even be subservient to action. But if we commence 
with scientific knowledge and argumentative proof, or 
lay any great stress upon it as the basis of personal 

296 The Tamworth Reading Room. 

Christianity, or attempt to make man moral and religious 
by Libraries and Museums, let us in consistency take 
chemists for our cooks, and mineralogists for our masons. 
Now I wish to state all this as matter of fact, to be 
judged by the candid testimony of any persons whatever. 
Why we are so constituted that Faith, not Knowledge 
or Argument, is our principle of action, is a question 
with which I have nothing to do ; but I think it is a fact, 
and if it be such, we must resign ourselves to it as best 
we may, unless we take refuge in the intolerable paradox, 
that the mass of men are created for nothing, and are 
meant to leave life as they entered it. So well has this 
practically been understood in all ages of the world, that 
no Religion has yet been a Religion of physics or of phi- 
losophy. It has ever been synonymous with Revelation. 
It never has been a deduction from what we know : it 
has ever been an assertion of what we are to beheve. It 
has never lived in a conclusion ; it has ever been a 
message, or a history, or a vision. No legislator or priest 
ever dreamed of educating our moral nature by science 
or by argument. There is no difference here between 
true Religions and pretended. Moses was instructed, not 
to reason from the creation, but to work miracles. 
Christianity is a history supernatural, and almost scenic; 
it tells us what its Author is, by telling us what He has 
done. I have no wish at all to speak otherwise than 
respectfully of conscientious Dissenters, but I have 
heard it said by those who were not their enemies, and 
who had known much of their preaching, that they had 
often heard narrow-minded and bigoted clergymen, and 
often Dissenting ministers of a far more intellectual cast; 
but that Dissenting teaching came to nothing, — that it 
was dissipated in thoughts which had no point, and 
inquiries which converged to no centre, that it ended as 

Nor a Principle of Action. 297 

it began, and sent away its hearers as it found them ; — 
whereas the instruction in the Church, with all its defects 
and mistakes, comes to some end, for it started from 
some beginning. Such is the difference between the 
dogmatism of faith and the speculations of logic. 

Lord Brougham himself, as we have already seen, has 
recognized the force of this principle. He has not left 
his philosophical religion to argument; he has committed 
it to the keeping of the imagination. Why should he 
depict a great republic of letters, and an intellectual 
Pantheon, but that he feels that instances and patterns, 
not logical reasonings, are the living conclusions which 
alone have a hold over the affections, or can form the 
character ? 



Sa'Kiar /Oiow/edp-e without Personal Religion ie^ids 

o o 

to Unbelief. 

When Sir Robert Peel assures us from the Town-hall at 
Tamworth that physical science must lead to religion, it 
is no bad comphment to him to say that he is unreal. 
He speaks of what he knows nothing about. To a 
rehgious man like him, Science has ever suggested 
religious thoughts ; he colours the phenomena of physics 
with the hues of his own mind, and mistakes an inter- 
pretation for a deduction, " I am sanguine enough to 
believe," he says, " that that superior sagacity which is 
most conversant with the course and constitution of 
Nature will be first to turn a deaf ear to objections and 
presumptions against Revealed Religion, and to acknow- 
ledge the complete harmony of the Christian Dispensation 
with all that Reason, assisted by Revelation, tells us of 
the course and constitution of Nature." Now, considering 
that we are all of us educated as Christians from infancy, 
it is not easy to decide at this day whether Science 
creates Faith, or only confirms it ; but we have this 
remarkable fact in the history of heathen Greece against 
the former supposition, that her most erfiinent empiri- 
cal philosophers were atheists, and that it was their 
atheism which was the cause of their eminence. " The 
natural philosophies of Democritus and others," says 
Lord Bacon, " ivho allow no God or mind in the frame of 
things, but attribute the structure of the universe to 

But a Temptation to Unbelief. :!99 

infinite essays and trials of nature, or what they call 
fate or fortune, and assigned the causes of particular 
things to the necessity of matter, without any interniixtnre 
of final causes, seem, as far as we can judge from the 
remains of their philosophy, much more solid, and to have 
gone deeper into nature, with regard to physical causes, 
than the philosophies of Aristotle or Plato : and this only 
because they never meddled with final causes, which the 
others were perpetually inculcating." 

Lord Bacon gives us both the fact and the reason for 
it. Physical philosophers are ever inquiring whence 
things are, not why ; referring them to nature, not to 
mind ; and thus they tend to make a system a substitute 
for a God. Each pursuit or calling has its own dangers, 
and each numbers among its professors men who rise 
superior to them. As the soldier is tempted to dissi- 
pation, and the merchant to acquisitiveness, and the 
lawyer to the sophistical, and the statesman to the expe- 
dient, and the country clergyman to ease and comfort, 
yet there are good clergymen, statesmen, lawyers, mer- 
chants, and soldiers, notwithstanding ; so there are 
religious experimentalists, though physics, taken by 
themselves, tend to infidelity ; but to have recourse to 
physics to make men religious is like recommending a 
canonry as a cure for the gout, or giving a youngster a 
commission as a penance for irregularities. 

The whole framework of Nature is confessedly a tissue 
of antecedents and consequents ; we may refer all things 
forwards to design, or backwards on a physical cause. 
La Place is said to have considered he had a formula 
which solved all the motions of the solar system ; shall 
we say that those motions came from this formula or 
from a Divine Fiat ? Shall we have recourse for our 
theory to physics or to theology } Shall we assume 

300 The Tainworth Reading Room. 

Matter and its necessary properties to be eternal, or 
Mind with its divine attributes ? Does the sun shine to 
warm the earth, or is the earth warmed because the sun 
shines ? The one hypothesis will solve the phenomena 
as well as the other. Say not it is but a puzzle in ar- 
gument, and that no one ever felt it in fact. So far 
from it, I believe that the study of Nature, when re- 
ligious feeling is away, leads the mind, rightly or 
wrongly, to acquiesce in the atheistic theory, as the 
simplest and easiest. It is but parallel to that tendency 
in anatomical studies, which no one will deny, to solve 
all the phenomena of the human frame into material 
elements and powers, and to dispense with the soul. 
To those who are conscious of matter, but not conscious 
of mind, it seems more rational to refer all things to one 
origin, such as they know, than to assume the existence 
of a second origin such as they know not. It is Reli- 
gion, then, which suggests to Science its true conclusions ; 
the facts come from Knowledge, but the principles come 
of Faith.* 

There are two ways, then, of reading Nature — as a 
machine and as a work. If we come to it with the 
assumption that it is a creation, we shall study it with 
awe ; if assuming it to be a system, with mere curiosity. 
Sir Robert does not make this distinction. He sub- 
scribes to the belief that the man " accustomed to such 
contemplations, struck with awe by the manifold proofs 
of infinite power and infinite wisdom, will yield more 
ready and hearty assent — yes, the assent of the heart, 
and not only of the understanding, to the pious ex- 

* [This is too absolute, if it is to be taken to mean that the legitimate, 
and what may be called the objective, conclusion from the fact of Nature 
viewed in the concrete is not in favour of the being and providence of God. 
— Vide "Essay on Assent," pp. 336, 345, 369, and "Univ. Serm."p. 194.] 

But a TeiJiptation to Unbelief. 301 

clamation, 'O Lord, how glorious are Thy works!'" 
He considers that greater insight into Nature will lead 
a man to say, " How great and wise is the Creator, who 
has done this ! " True : but it is possible that his 
thoughts may take the form of " How clever is the 
creature who has discovered it ! " and self-conceit may 
stand proxy for adoration. This is no idle apprehension. 
Sir Robert himself, religious as he is, gives cause for it ; 
for the first reflection that rises in his mind, as expressed 
in the above passage, before his notice of Divine Power 
and Wisdom, is, that "the man accustomed to such 
contemplations will feel the moral dignity of his nature 
exalted" But Lord Brougham speaks out. "The 
delight," he says, "is inexpressible of being able to follow y 
as it were, with our eyes, the marvellous works of the 
Great Architect of Nature." And more clearly still : 
" One of the most gratifying treats which science affords 
us is tlie knowledge of the extraordinary powers with 
which the human mind is endowed. No man, until he 
has studied philosophy, can have a just idea of the great 
things for which Providence has fitted his understanding, 
the extraordinary disproportion which there is between 
his natural strength and the powers of his mind, and the 
force which he derives from these powers. When we 
survey the marvellous truths of astronomy, we are first 
of all lost in the feeling of immense space, and of the 
comparative insignificance of this globe and its inhabit- 
ants. But there soon arises a sense of gratification and 
of new wo7ider at perceiving how so insignificant a 
creature has been able to reach such a knozvledge of the 
unbounded system of the universe." So, this is the 
religion we are to gain from the study of Nature ; how 
miserable ! The god we attain is our own mind ; our 
veneration is even professed!}' the worship of self. 

302 TJlC Tamworih Rcadins^ Room 


The truth is that the system of Nature is just as much 
connected with Rehgion, where minds are not religious, 
as a watch or a steam-carriage. The material world, 
indeed, is infinitely more wonderful than any human 
contrivance ; but wonder is not religion, or we should 
be worshipping our railroads. What the physical crea- 
tion presents to us in itself is a piece of machinery, and 
when men speak of a Divine Intelligence as its Author, 
this god of theirs is not the Living and True, unless the 
spring is the god of a watch, or steam the creator of the 
engine. Their idol, taken at advantage (though it is 
not an idol, for they do not worship it), is the animatin^T 
principle of a vast and complicated system \ it is sub- 
jected to laws, and it is connatural and co-extensive with 
matter. Well does Lord Brougham call it " the great 
architect of nature ; " it is an instinct, or a soul of the 
world, or a vital power ; it is not the Almighty God* 

It is observable that Lord Brougham does not allude 
to any relation as existing between his god and ourselves. 
He is filled with awe, it seems, at the powers of the 
human mind, as displayed in their analysis of the vast 
creation. Is not this a fitting time to say a word about 
gratitude towards Him who gave them ? Not a syllable. 
What we gain from his contemplation of Nature is 
"a gratifying treat," the knowledge of the "great things 
for which Providence has fitted man's understanding ; " 
our admiration terminates in man ; it passes on to no 
prototype.! I am not quarrellingwithhis result as illogical 
or unfair ; it is but consistent with the principles with 
which he started. Take the system of Nature by itself, 
detached from the axioms of Religion, and I am willing 
to confess — nay, I have been expressly urging — that it 

* \_Vide " University Teaching," Disc. 2.] 
t \yide "Essays," vol. i. p. 37, etc.] 

But a Temptation to Unbelief. 303 

does not force us to take it for more than a system ; but 
why, then, persist in calling the study of it religious, 
when it can be treated, and is treated, thus atheistically ? 
Say that Religion hallows the study, and not that the 
study creates Religion. The essence of Religion is 
the idea of a Moral Governor and a particular Pro- 
vidence ; now let me ask, is the doctrine of moral govern- 
ance and a particular providence conveyed to us through 
the physical sciences at all ? Would they be physical 
sciences if they treated of morals ? Can physics teach 
moral matters without ceasing to be physics ? But are 
not virtue and vice, and responsibility, and reward and 
punishment, anything else than moral matters, and are 
tliey not of the essence of Religion ? In what depart- 
ment, then, of physics are they to be found ? Can 
the problems and principles they involve be expressed 
in the differential calculus ? Is the galvanic battery 
a whit more akin to conscience and will, than the 
mechanical powers ? What we seek i§ what concerns 
us, the traces of a Moral Governor ; even religious minds 
cannot discern these in the physical sciences ; astronomy 
witnesses divine power, and physics divine skill ; and all 
of them divine beneficence ; but which teaches of divine 
holiness, truth, justice, or mercy? Is that much of a 
Religion which is silent about duty, sin, and its remedies ? 
Was there ever a Religion which was without the idea 
of an expiation ? 

Sir Robert Peel tells us, that physical science im- 
parts " pleasure and consolation " on a death-bed. Lord 
Brougham confines himself to the "gratifying treat;" 
but Sir Robert ventures to speak of " consolation." Now, 
if we are on trial in this life, and if death be the time 
when our account is gathered in, is it at all serious or 
real to be talking of "consoling" ourselves at such a time 

304 The Tamworth Reading Room. 

with scientific subjects ? Are these topics to suggest to 
us the thought of the Creator or not ? If not, are they 
better than story books, to beguile the mind from what 
hes before it ? But, if they are to speak of Him, can a 
dying man find rest in the mere notion of his Creator, 
when he knows Him also so awfully as His Moral 
Governor and his Judge ? Meditate indeed on the 
wonders of Nature on a death-bed ! , Rather stay your 
hunger with corn grown in Jupiter, and warm yourself 
by the Moon. 

But enough on this most painful portion of Sir Robert's 
Address. As I am coming to an end, I suppose I ought 
to sum up in a few words what I have been saying. I 
consider, then, that intrinsically excellent and noble as 
are scientific pursuits, and worthy of a place in a liberal 
education, and fruitful in temporal benefits to the com- 
munity, still they are not, and cannot be, the instru- 
ment of an ethical training ; that physics do not supply 
a basis, but only materials for religious sentiment; that 
knowledge does but occupy, does not form the mind ; that 
apprehension of the unseen is the only known principle 
capable of subduing moral evil, educating the multitude, 
and organizing society ; and that, whereas man is born 
for action, action flows not from inferences, but from 
impressions, — not from reasonings, but from Faith. 

That Sir Robert would deny these propositions I am 
far from contending ; I do not even contend that he has 
asserted the contrary at Tamworth. It matters little to 
me whether he spoke boldly and intelligibly, as the 
newspapers represent, or guarded his strong sayings with 
the contradictory matter with which they are interca- 
lated in his own report. In either case the drift and the 
effect of his Address are the same. He has given his 
respected name to a sophistical School, and condescended 

Bid a Temptation to Uiibelief. 305 

to mimic the gestures and tones of Lord Brougham. 
How melancholy is it that a man of such exemplary life, 
such cultivated tastes, such political distinction, such 
Parliamentary tact, and such varied experience, should 
have so little confidence in himself, so little faith in his 
own principles, so little hope of sympathy in others, so 
little heart for a great venture, so little of romantic aspi- 
ration, and of firm resolve, and stern dutifulness to the 
Unseen ! How sad that he who might have had the 
affections of many, should have thought, in a day like 
this, that a Statesman's praise lay in preserving the mean, 
not in aiming at the high ; that to be safe was his first 
merit, and to kindle enthusiasm his most disgraceful 
blunder ! How pitiable that such a man should not 
have understood that a body without a soul has no life, 
and a political party without an idea, no unity I 

February, 1841. 




(Addressed to the Editor o/Tn^ Catholic Standard. By Catholicus.) 


The British Constitution on its Trial. 

Sir, — I have been much shocked, as I suppose has been 
the case with most of your readers, at the weekly extracts 
you have made from the correspondents of the daily 
prints, descriptive of the state of the British army in 
the Crimea; and a conviction has been steadily growing, 
or rather has been formed, in my mind, which the run- 
ning comments of the Press continually strengthen, that 
we must go very deep indeed to get at the root of the 
evil, which lies, not in the men in authority, nor in sys- 
tems of administration simply in themselves, but in 
nothing short of the British Constitution itself I do 
not expect I shall get others to agree with me in this 
conclusion at once ; I do not ask you, Mr. Editor, to 
assent to it, but to be patient with me, if, in order to do 
justice to my own ideas on the subject, I ask for a long 
hearing — if I even ask to be diffuse, roundabout, dis- 
cursive, nay, perhaps, prosy, in support of what, at first 
sight, readers may call my paradox, — for I have no 
chance of establishing it in any other way. 

Our Constiiution on its Trial, 307 

Nor have I embraced it with any satisfaction to my 
feelings, certainly not to my Catholic feelings. Indeed, 1 
have a decided view that Catholicism is safer and more 
free under a constitutional regime, such as our own, than 
under any other. I have no wish for " reforms " ; and 
should be sorry to create in the minds of your readers 
any sentiment favourable either to democracy or to 
absolutism. I have no liking for the tyranny whether 
of autocrat or mob ; no taste for being whirled off to 
Siberia, or tarred and feathered in the far West, by the 
enemies of my religion. May I live and die under the 
mild sway of a polity which certainly represses and dilutes 
the blind fanaticism of a certain portion of my country- 
men, — a fanaticism which, except for it, would sweep 
us off these broad lands, and lodge us, with little delay 
or compunction, in the German Sea ! Still, we cannot 
alter facts ; and, if the British Constitution is admirably 
adapted for peace, but not for war, which is the proposi- 
tion I shall support, and which seems dawning on the 
public mind, there is a lesson contained in that circum- 
stance which demands our attention. The lesson is this 
— that we were not wise to go to war, if we could possibly 
have avoided it, at a time when, by a lucky accident, the 
Duke of Wellington had gained for the nation a military 
prestige which it had little chance of preserving ; and 
the sooner we know our capabilities and our true mission 
among the nations of the earth, and get back into a state 
of peace, in which we are really and truly great, the 
better for us. 

It is not that I am doubting the heroic bravery and 
fortitude of the British soldier. I am not speaking of 
the individual soldier, whose great qualities I revere 
and marvel at, and whom I have been following with my 
anxieties and prayers ever since he set out on his foreign 

3o8 Who's to Blame ? 

campaign. I am as little concerned here with the valour 
of our soldiers, as with the bigotry of our middle class ; 
with the heights of Inkerman, as with the depths of 
Exeter Hall. I am to speak of our Constitution and of 
Constitutional Government ; and I say that this said 
Constitutional Government of ours shows to extreme 
advantage in a state of peace, but not so in a state of 
war ; and that it cannot be otherwise from the nature of 
things. Surely it is not paradoxical to say as much as 
this ; for no one in this world can secure all things at 
once, but in every human work there is a maximum of 
good, short of the best possible. The wonder and the 
paradox rather would be, if the institutions of England 
were equally admirable for all contingencies, for war as 
well as for peace. Certainly martial law and constitutional 
freedom, the soldier's bayonet and the staff of the police- 
man, belong to antagonistic classes of ideas, and are not 
likely to co-operate happily with each other. 

Nor, again, do I therefore say that we must never go 
to war, or that we shall always get the worst off, if we do. 
I only mean, it is not our strong point. I suppose, if 
we had no fowling-pieces, we might still manage, like 
Philoctetes, to knock off our game with bow and arrows. 
There are always ways of doing things, where there is 
the will. I am not denying that, with great exertion, 
we are able to hoist up our complex Constitution, to 
ease it into position, and fire it off with uncommon 
effect ; but to do so is a most inconvenient, expensive^ 
tedious process ; it takes much time, much money, many 
men, and many lives. We ought in consequence to 
think twice before we set it to work for a purpose for 
which it was never made ; and this I think we did not 
do a year ago. We hardly thought once about the 
matter. With intense self-conceit, we despised our foe. 

Otcr Constitution on its Trial, 309 

We treated him as we treated the Pope four years be- 
fore, and we have caught it. The Times put out feelers, 
this time last year, as to the possibility of the British 
Lion being persuaded into a more good-humoured, as 
well as a more prudent course ; but that sagacious jour- 
nal was soon obliged to draw them in again, and to 
swim down the stream with the boldest. For the said 
Lion was bent on puffing the Muscovite into space with 
the mere breath of his growl ; and it did not occur to 
him at the moment, that perhaps it was his own wisdom, 
and not the Muscovite's merely, to let well alone, and to 
live upon the capital which a great military genius had 
made for him in the last war. And so, without reflection, 
the Lion did what, I am firmly persuaded, neither the 
Duke nor Sir Robert Peel would have let him do, had 
they been alive. He believed those counsellors who 
had the madness to tell him that it was a little war 
which he was beginning, and he stood rampant forthwith 
both in the Baltic and in the Black Sea. 

But there is a further view of the matter, and it sug- 
gests another unpleasant consideration. No one likes to 
use a cumbrous, clumsy instrument ; and, if at war we 
are, and with institutions not fitted for war, it is just 
possible we may alter our institutions, under the im- 
mediate pressure, in order to make them work easier for 
the object of war ; and then what becomes of King, 
Lords, and Commons ? There are abundant symptoms, 
on all sides of us, of the presence of a strong temptation to 
some such temerarious proceeding. Any one, then, who, 
like myself, is thankful that he is born under the British 
Constitution, — any Catholic who dreads the knout and 
the tar-barrel, will, for that very reason, look with great 
jealousy on a state of things which not only doubles 
prices and taxes, but which may bring about a sudden 

3IO Who's to Blamel 

infringement and an irreparable injury of that remarkable 
polity, which the world never saw before, or elsewhere, and 
which it is so pleasant to live under. I do not mean to say 
that anything serious will be sensibly experienced in our 
time, at least in the time of those who are gliding rapidly 
along to the evening of life ; but it would be no consola- 
tion to me to be told that the Constitution will last my 
day, if I know that the next generation, whom I am watch- 
ing as they come into active life, would fall under a form 
of government less favourable to the Church, And I do not 
think that the Catholics of England, who have shown no 
little exultation at the war, would gain much by rescu- 
ing Turkey from the Russo-Greeks, if, after planting Pro- 
testant Liberalism there instead, they found on looking 
homeward that despotism or democracy had mounted 
in these islands on the ruins of the aristocracy. 

However, it is not my business to prophesy, but to 
attempt to lay down principles, which I hope to be al- 
lowed to do in my next letter. 



States a7id Constitutlom^ 

The proposition I have undertaken to maintain is this : 
— That the British Constitution is made for a state of 
peace, and not for a state of war ; and that war tries it 
in the same way, to use a homely illustration, that it tries 
a spoon to use it for a knife, or a scythe or hay-fork to 
make it do the work of a spade. I expressed myself thus 
generally, in order to give to those who should do me 
the honour of reading me the most expeditious insight 
into the view which I wished to set before them. But, 
if I must speak accurately, my meaning is this, — that, 
whereas a Nation has two aspects, internal and external, 
one as regards its own members, and one as regards 
foreigners, and whereas its government has two duties, 
one towards its subjects, and one towards its allies or 
enemies, the British State is great in its home department, 
which is its primary object, foreign affairs being its 
secondary ; while France or Russia, Prussia or Austria, 
contemplates in the first place foreign affairs, and is great 
in their management, and makes the home department 
only its second object. And further, that, if England be 
great abroad, as she is, it is not so much the State, as 
the People or Nation, which is the cause of her great- 
ness, and that not by means but in spite of the Con- 
stitution, or, if by means of it in any measure, clumsily so 
and circuitously; on the other hand, that, if foreign powers 
are ever great in the management of their own people. 

312 JV/io's to Blame'} 

and make men of them, this they do in spite of their 
polity, and rather by the accidental qualifications of the 
individual ruler ; or if by their polity, still with incon- 
venience and effort. Other explanations I may add to 
the above as I proceed, but this is sufficient for the 

Now I hope you will have patience with me, if I begin 
by setting down what I mean by a State, and by a Con- 

First of all, it is plain that every one has a power of his 
own to act this way or that, as he pleases. And, as not 
one or two, but every one has it, it is equally plain, that, 
if all exercised it to the full, at least the stronger part of 
mankind would always be in conflict with each other, 
and no one would enjoy the benefit of it ; so that it is 
the interest of every one to give up some portion of his 
birth-freedom in this or that direction, in order to secure 
more freedom on the whole ; exchanging a freedom which 
is now large and now narrow, according as the accidents 
of his conflicts with others are more or less favourable to 
himself, for a certain definite range of freedom prescribed 
and guaranteed by settled engagements or laws. In 
other words. Society is necessary for the well-being of 
human nature. The result, aimed at and effected by 
these mutual arrangements, is called a State or Standing; 
that is, in contrast with the appearance presented by a 
people before and apart from such arrangements, which 
is not a standing, but a chronic condition of commotion 
and disorder. 

And next, as this State or settlement of a people, is 
brought about by mutual arrangements, that is, by laws 
or rules, there is need, from the nature of the case, of 
some power over and above the People itself to maintain 
and enforce them. This living guardian of the laws i,s 

States and Constitutions. 313 

called the Government, and a governing power is thus 
involved in the very notion of Society. Let the Govern- 
ment be suspended, and at once the State is threatened 
with dissolution, which at best is only a matter of time. 

A lively illustration in point is furnished us by a clas- 
sical historian. When the great Assyrian Empire broke 
up, a time of anarchy succeeded; and, little as its late 
subjects liked its sway, they liked its absence less. The 
historian thus proceeds : " There was a wise man among 
the Medes, called Deioces. This Deioces, aspiring to be 
tyrant, did thus. He was already a man of reputation 
in his own country, and he now, more than ever, practised 
justice. The Medes, accordingly, in his neighbourhood, 
seeing his ways, made him their umpire in disputes. He, 
on the other hand, having empire in his eye, was upright 
and just. As he proceeded thus, the dwellers in other 
towns, who had suffered from unjust decisions, were glad 
to go to him and to plead their causes, till at length they 
went to no one else. Deioces now had the matter in his 
own hands. Accordingly he would no longer proceed to 
the judgment-seat ; for it was not worth his while, he 
said, to neglect his private affairs for the sake of the 
affairs of others. When rapine and lawlessness returned, 
his friends said, ' We must appoint a king over us;' and 
then they debated who it should be, and Deioces was 
praised by every one. So they made him their king ; 
and he, upon this, bade them to build him a house 
worthy of his kingly power, and protect him with 
guards ; and the Medes did so." 

Now I have quoted this passage from history, 
because it carries us a step further in our investigation. 
It is for the good of the many that the one man, 
Deioces, is set up ; but who is to keep him in his 
proper work ? He puts down all little tyrants, but 

314 Who's to Blame? 

what is to hinder his becoming a greater tyrant than 
them all ? This was actually the case ; first the Assyrian 
tyranny, then anarchy, then the tyranny of Dcioces. 
Thus the unfortunate masses oscillate between two op- 
posite evils, — that of having no governor, and that of 
having too much of one ; and which is the lesser of the 
two ? This was the dilemma which beset the Horse in 
the fable. He was in feud with the Stag, by whose horns 
he was driven from his pasture. The Man promised him 
an easy victory, if he would let him mount him. On his 
assenting, the Man bridled him, and vaulted on him, and 
pursued and killed his enemy ; but, this done, he would 
not get off him. Now, then, the Horse was even worse 
off than before, because he had a master to serve, instead 
of a foe to combat. 

Here then is the problem : the social state is necessary 
for man, but it seems to contain in itself the elements 
of its own undoing. It requires a power to enforce the 
laws, and to rule the unruly ; but what law is to control 
that power, and to rule the ruler .? According to the 
common adage, " Quis custodiat ipsos custodes .'' " Who 
is to hinder the governor dispensing with the law in his 
own favour .-* History shows us that this problem is as 
ordinary as it is perplexing. 

The expedient, by which the State is kept in statu 
and its ruler is ruled, is called its Constitution ; and this 
has next to be explained. Now a Constitution really is 
not a mere code of laws, as is plain at once ; for the 
very problem is how to confine power within the law, and 
in order to the maintenance of law. The ruling power 
can, and may, overturn law and law-makers, as Cromwell 
did, by the same sword with which he protects them. 
Acts of Parliament, Magna Charta, the Bill of Rights, the 
Reform Bill, none of these are the British Constitution. 

Stales and Constitutions. . 315 

What then is conveyed in that word ? I would answer 
as follows : — 

As individuals have characters of their own, so have 
races. Most men have their strong and their weak 
points, and points neither good nor bad, but idiosyn- 
cratic. And so of races : one is brave and sensitive of its 
honour ; another romantic; another industrious, or long- 
headed, or religious. One is barbarous, another civilized. 
Moreover, growing out of these varieties or idiosyncrasies, 
and corresponding to them, will be found in these several 
races, and proper to each, a certain assemblage of beliefs, 
convictions, rules, usages, traditions, proverbs, and prin- 
ciples; some political, some social, some moral; and these 
tending to some definite form of government and modus 
vivendi, or polity, as their natural scope. And this being 
the case, when a given race has that polity which is in- 
tended for it by nature, it is in the same state of repose 
and contentment which an individual enjoys who has the 
food, or the comforts, the stimulants, sedatives, or resto- 
ratives, whick are suited to his diathesis and his need. This 
then is the Constitution of a State: securing, as it does, the 
national unity by at once strengthening and controlling 
its governing power. It is something more than law ; it 
is the embodiment of special ideas, ideas perhaps which 
have been held by a race for ages, which are of imme- 
morial usage, which have fixed themselves in its inner- 
most heart, which are in its eyes sacred to it, and have 
practically the force of eternal truths, whether they be 
such or not. These ideas are sometimes trivial, and, at 
first sight, even absurd : sometimes they are supersti- 
tious, sometimes they are great or beautiful ; but to those 
to whom they belong they are first principles, watch- 
words, common property, natural ties, a cause to fight 
for, an occasion of self-sacrifice. They are tlie expres- 

3i6 Who's to Blame? 

sions of some or other sentiment, — of loyalty, of order, of 
duty, of honour, of faith, of justice, of glory. They are 
the creative and conservative influences of Society ; they 
erect nations into States, and invest States with Constitu- 
tions. They inspire and sway, as well as restrain, the 
ruler of a people, for he himself is but one of that people 
to which they belong. 



Constitutional Principles and their Varieties. 

It is a common saying that political power is founded 
on opinion ; this is true, if the word " opinion " be 
understood in the widest sense of which it is capable. 
A State depends and rests, not simply on force of arms, 
not on logic, not on anything short of the sentiment and 
will of those who are governed. This doctrine does not 
imply instability and change as inherent characteristics 
of a body politic. Since no one can put off his opinions 
in a moment, or by willing it, since those opinions 
may be instincts, principles, beliefs, convictions, since 
they may be self-evident, since they may be religious 
truths, it may be easily understood how a national polity, 
as being the creation and development of a multitude of 
men having all the same opinions, may stand of itself, 
and be most firmly established, and may be practically 
secure against reverse. And thus it is that countries 
become settled, with a definite form of social union, and 
an ascendancy of law and order ; not as if that particular 
settlement, union, form, order, and law were self-sanc- 
tioned and self-supported, but because it is founded in 
the national mind, and maintained by the force of a 
living tradition. This, then, is what I mean by a State ; 
and, being the production and outcome of a people, it 
is necessarily for the good of the people, and it has two 
main elements, power and liberty, — for without power 
there is no protection, and without liberty there is 

3i8 TV/2o's to Blame 'i 

nothing to protect. The seat of power is the Govern- 
ment ; the seat of Hberty is the Constitution. 

You will say that this implies that every State must 
have a Constitution ; so I think it has, in the sense in 
which I have explained the word. As the governing power 
may be feeble and unready, so the check upon its arbitrary 
exercise may be partial and uncertain ; it may be rude, 
circuitous, abrupt, or violent ; it need not be scientifically 
recognized and defined ; but there never has been, there 
never can be, in any political body, an instance of unmiti- 
gated absolutism. Human nature does not allow of it. 
In pure despotisms, the practical limitation of the ruler's 
power lies in his personal fears, in the use of the dagger 
or the bowstring. These expedients have been brought 
into exercise before now, both by our foes, the Russians, 
and, still more so, by our friends, the Turks. Nay, when 
the present war began, some of our self-made politicians 
put forward the pleasant suggestion that the Czar's 
assassination at the hands of his subjects, maddened by 
taxes and blockades, was a possible path to the triumph 
of the allies. 

Such is the lawless remedy which nature finds for a 
lawless tyranny ; and no one will deny that such a 
savage justice is natiqnal in certain states of Society, and 
has a traditional authority, and may in a certain sense 
be called Constitutional. As society becomes civilized, 
the checks on arbitrary power assume a form in ac- 
cordance with a more cultivated morality. We have 
one curious specimen of a Constitutional principle, pre- 
served to us in the Medo-Persian Empire. It was a 
jvholesome and subtle provision, adopting the semblance 
of an abject servility suitable to the idea of a despotism, 
which proclaimed the judgment of the despot infallible, 
and his word irrevocable. Alexander felt what it was 

Varieties of Cotistitutional Principles. 319 

to do irrevocable acts in the physical order, when, in 
the plenitude of his sovereignty, he actually killed his 
friend in the banquet ; and, as to the vulgar multitude, 
this same natural result, the remedy or penalty of reck- 
less power, is expressed in the unpolite proverb, " Give 
a rogue rope enough, and he will hang himself." With 
a parallel significance, then, it was made a sacred prin- 
ciple among the Medo-Persians, which awed and sobered 
the monarch himself, from its surpassing inconvenience, 
that what he once had uttered had the force of fate. It 
was the punishment of his greatness, that, when Darius 
would have saved the prophet Daniel from the opera- 
tion of a law, which the king had been flattered into 
promulgating, he could not do so. 

A similar check upon the tyranny of power, assuming 
the character of veneration and homage, is the form and 
etiquette which is so commonly thrown round a monarch. 
By irresistible custom, a ceremonial more or less stringent 
has been made almost to enter into his essential idea, 
for we know majesty without its externals is a jest ; and, 
while to lay it aside is to relinquish the discriminating 
badge which is his claim upon the homage of his subjects, 
to observe it is to surrender himself manicled and fettered 
into their hands. It is said a king of Spain was roasted 
to death because the proper official was not found in 
time to wheel away his royal person from the fire. If 
etiquette hindered him from saving his own life, etiquette 
might also interpose an obstacle to his taking the life of 
another. If it was so necessary for Sancho Panza, 
governor of Barataria, to eat his dinner with the sanction 
of the court physician on every dish, other great function- 
aries of State might possibly be conditions of other in- 
dulgences oh his part which were less reasonable and 
less imperative. As for our own most gracious Sovereign, 

320 W/io's to Blame 1 

she is honoured with the Constitutional prerogative that 
"the king can do no wrong;" that is, he can do no 
political act of his own mere will at all. 

It is, then, no paradox to say that every State has in 
some sense a Constitution ; that is, a set of traditions, 
depending, not on formal enactment, but on national 
acceptance, in one way or other restrictive of the ruler's 
power ; though in one country more scientifically de- 
veloped than another, or more distinctly recognized, or 
more skilfully and fully adapted to their end. There is a 
sort of analogy between the political and the physical sense 
of the word. A man of good constitution is one who 
has something more than life, — viz., a bodily soundness, 
organic and functional, which will bring him safely through 
hardships, or illnesses, or dissipations. On the other hand, 
no one is altogether without a constitution : to say he 
has nothing to fall back upon, when his health is tried, is 
almost to pronounce that his life is an accident, and that 
he may at any moment be carried off. And, in like 
manner, that must be pronounced no State, but a mere 
fortuitous collection of individuals, which has no unity 
stronger than despotism, or deeper than law. 

I am not sure how far it bears upon the main proposi- 
tion to which these remarks are meant to conduct us, 
but at least it will illustrate the general subject, if I ask 
your leave to specify, as regards the depository of political 
power, four Constitutional principles, distinct in kind 
from each other, which, among other parallel ones, have 
had an historical existence. If they must have names 
given them, they may be called respectively the principles 
of co-ordination, subordination, delegation, and participa- 

I. As all political power implies unity, the word co- 
ordination may seem inconsistent with its essential idea : 

Variety of Constitutional Principles. 321 

and yet there is a state of society, in which the limita- 
tion of despotism is by the voice of the people so un- 
equivocally committed to an external authority, that we 
must speak of it as the Constitution of such a State, in 
spite of the seeming anomaly. Such is the recognition 
of the authority of Religion, as existing in its own sub- 
stantive institutions, external to the strictly political 
framework, which even in pagan countries has been at 
times successfully used to curb the extravagances of 
absolute power. Putting paganism aside, we find in the 
history both of Israel and of Judah the tyranny of kings 
brought within due limits by the priests and prophets, 
as by legitimate and self-independent authorities. The 
same has been the case in Christian times. The Church 
is essentially a popular institution, defending the cause 
and encouraging the talents of the lower classes, and 
interposing an external barrier in favour of high or low 
against the ambition and the rapacity of the temporal 
power. " If the Christian Church had not existed," says 
M. Guizot, " the whole world would have been abandoned 
to unmitigated material force." However, as the cor- 
rective principle is in this instance external to the State 
though having its root internally in national opinion, it 
cannot, except improperly, be termed Constitutional, 

2. Next I come to the principle of subordination, which 
has been commonly found in young, semi-barbarous 
states both in Europe and Asia, and has attained its 
most perfect form in what is called the Feudal System. 
It has had a military origin ; and, after the pattern of an 
army, is carried out in an hierarchy of chiefs, one under 
the other, each of whom in consequence had direct juris- 
diction only over a few. First came the suzerain, or lord 
paramount, who had the allegiance of a certain number 
of princes, dukes, counts, or even kings. These were his 

V 21 

322 JVMs to Blame? 

feudatories, — that is, they owed him certain military- 
services, and held their respective territories of him. 
Their vassals, in turn, were the barons, each under his 
own prince or duke, and owing him a similar service. 
Under the barons were the soldiers, each settled down 
on his own portion of land, with the peasants of the soil 
as his serfs, and with similar feudal duties to his own 
baron. A system like this furnished a most perfect 
expedient against absolutism. Power was distributed 
among many persons, without confusion or the chance 
of collision ; and, while the paucity of vassals under one 
and the same rule gave less scope to tyrannical excesses, 
it created an effective public opinion, which is strongest 
when the relation between governor and governed is 
most intimate. Moreover, if any one were disposed to 
play the tyrant, there were several distinct parties in a 
condition to unite against him ; the barons and lower 
class against the king, the king and the lower classs 
against the barons. The barbarities of the middle ages 
have been associated in men's minds with this system ; 
but, whatever they were, they surely took place in spite 
of it, not through it, — just as the anti-Catholic virulence 
of the present race of Englishmen is mitigated, not 
caused, by the British Constitution. 

3. By the principle of delegation, I mean that accord- 
ing to which power is committed for a certain time 
to individuals, with a commensurate responsibility, 
to be met whenever that time has expired. Thus 
the Roman Dictator, elected on great emergencies, was 
autocrat during the term of his rule. Thus a com- 
mander of an army has unfettered powers to do what 
he will, while his command continues ; or the captain 
of a ship ; but afterwards his acts are open to inquiry, 
and, if so be, to animadversion. There are great 

Variety of Constitutional Principles. 323 

advantages to a system like this ; it is the mode of 
bringing out great men, and of working great measures. 
You choose the fittest man for each department ; you 
frankly trust him, you heap powers upon him, you 
generously support him with your authority, you let him 
have his own way, you let him do his best. Afterwards 
you review his proceedings ; you reward or censure him. 
Such, again, in fact, is wiih us the liberty of the press, 
censorship being simply unconstitutional, and the courte 
of law, the remedy against seditious, libellous, or de- 
moralizing publications. Here, too, your advantage is 
great ; you form pubhc opinion, and you ascertain the 
national mind. 

4. The very opposite to this is the principle of par- 
ticipation. It is that by which a People would leave 
nothing to its rulers, but has itself, or by its immediate 
instruments, a concurrent part in everything that is done. 
Acting on the notion that no one is to be trusted, even 
for a time, and that every act of its ofificials is to be 
jealously watched, it never commits power without 
embarrassing its exercise. Instead of making a venture 
for the transcendent, it keeps fast by a safe mediocrity. 
It rather trusts a dozen persons than one to do its work. 
This is the great principle of boards and officers, engaged 
in checking each other, with a second apparatus to check 
the first apparatus, and other functionaries to keep an 
eye on both of them, — Tom helping Jack, and Jack 
waiting for Bill, till the end is lost in the means. Such 
seems to have been the principle of the military duties 
performed by the Aulic Council in Germany, which 
virtually co-operated with Napoleon in his victories in 
that country. Such is the great principle of committees 
of taste, which have covered this fair land with architec- 
tural monstrosities. And as being closely aUied to the 

324 Who's to Blame f 

principle of comprehension and compromise (a principle, 
necessary indeed, in some shape, but admitting of ruinous 
excess), it has had an influence on our national action 
in matters more serious than architecture or sculpture. 
And it has told directly upon our political efficiency. 


Characteristics of the Athenians, 

Now at length I am drawing near the subject which 
I have undertaken to treat, though Athens is both in 
leagues and in centuries a great way off England after 
all. But first to recapitulate : — a State or polity im- 
plies two things, Power on the one hand, Liberty on the 
other; a Rule and a Constitution. Power, when freely 
developed, results in contralization ; Liberty in self- 
government. The two principles are in antagonism from 
their very nature ; so far forth as you have rule, you have 
not liberty ; so far forth as you have liberty, you have not 
rule. If a People gives up nothing at all, it remains a 
mere People, and does not rise to be a State, If it 
gives up everything, it could not be worse off, though it 
gave up nothing. Accordingly, it always must give up 
something ; it never can give up everything ; and in 
every case the problem to be decided is, what is the 
most advisable compromise, what point is the maximum 
of at once protection and independence. 

Those political institutions are the best which subtract 
as little as possible from a people's natural independence 
as the price of their protection. The stronger you make 
the Ruler, the more he can do for you, but the more 
he also can do against you ; the weaker you make him, 
the less he can do against you, but the less also he can do 
for you. The Man promised to kill the Stag ; but he fairly 
owned that he must be first allowed to mount the Horse. 

326 Who's io Blame? 

Put a sword into the Ruler's hands, it is at his option to 
use or not use it against you ; reclaim it, and who is to 
use it for you ? Thus, if States are free, they are feeble; if 
they are vigorous, they are high-handed. I am not speak- 
ing of a nation or a people, but of a State as such ; and 
I say, the more a State secures to itself oV rule and cen- 
tralization, the more it can do for its subjects externally; 
and the more it grants to them of liberty and self- 
govetnment, the less it can do against them internally : 
and thus a despotic government is the best for war, and 
a popular government the best for peace. 

Now this may seem a paradox so far as this ; — that 
I have said a State cannot be at once free and strong, 
whereas the combination of these advantages is the 
veny boast which we make about our own island in one 
of our national songs, which runs, — 

** Britannia, rule the waves ! 
Britons never shall be slaves* 

I acknowledge the force of this authority; but I must re- 
call the reader's attention to the distinction which I have 
just been making between a Nation and a State. Britons 
are free, considered as a State; they are strong, considered 
as a Nation ; — and, as a good deal depends on this distinc- 
tion, I will illustrate it, before I come to the considera- 
tion of our own country, by the instance of that ancient 
and famous people whose name I have prefixed to this 
portion of my inquiry, — a people who, in most respects, 
are as unlike us, as beauty is unlike utility, but who are in 
this respect, strange to say, not dissimilar to the Briton. 
So pure a democracy was Athens, that, if any of its 
citizens was eminent, he might be banished by the rest 
for this simple offence of greatness. Self-government 
was developed there in the fullest measure, as if provi- 

The Athenians. 327 

sion was not at all needed against any foe. Nor indeed, 
in the earlier period of Athens, was it required ; for the 
poverty of the soil, and the extent of seaboard as its 
boundary, secured it against both the cupidity and the 
successful enterprise of invaders. The chief object, 
then, of its polity was the maintenance of internal order; 
but even in this respect solicitude was superfluous, ac- 
cording to its citizens themselves, who were accustomed 
to boast that they were attracted, one and all, in one and 
the same way, and moulded into a body politic, by an 
innate perception of the beautiful and true, and that the 
genius and cultivation of mind, which were their charac- 
teristics, served them better for the observance of the 
rules of good fellowship and for carrying on the inter- 
course of life, than the most stringent laws and the best 
appointed officers of police. 

Here then was the extreme of self-government carried 
out ; and the State was intensely free. That in propor- 
tion to that internal freedom was its weakness in its ex- 
ternal relations, its uncertainty, caprice, injustice, and 
untrustworthiness, history, I think, abundantly shows. 
It may be thought unfair to appeal to the age of 
Philip and Demosthenes, when no Greek State could 
oppose a military organization worthy of such a foe as 
Macedon ; but at no anterior period had it shown a 
vigour and perseverance similar to the political force of 
tlie barbaric monarchy, which extinguished its liber- 
ties. It was simply unable to defend and perpetuate 
that democratical license which it so inordinately prized. 

Had Athens then no influence on the world outside 
of it, because its political influence was so baseless and 
fluctuating? Has she gained no conquests, exercised 
no rule, affected no changes, left no traces of herself 
upon the nations ? On the contrary, never was country 

328 IVhos to Blame? 

able to do so much ; never has country so impressed its 
image upon the history of the world, except ahvays 
that similarly small strip of land in Syria. And more- 
over, — for this I wish to insist upon, rather than merely 
concede, — this influence of hers was in consequence, 
though not by means, of her democratical regime. That 
democratical polity formed a People, who could do what 
democracy itself could not do. Feeble all together, the 
Athenians were superlatively energetic one by one. It 
was their very keenness of intellect individually which 
made them collectively so inefficient. This point of 
character, insisted on both by friendly and hostile ora- 
tors in the pages of her great historian, is a feature in 
which Athens resembles England. Englishmen, indeed, 
do not go to work with the grace and poetry which, if 
Pericles is to be believed, characterized an Athenian ; 
but Athens may boast of her children as having the 
self-reliance, the spirit, and the unflagging industry of 
the individual Englishman. 

It was this individualism which was the secret of the 
power of Athens in her day, and remains as the instru- 
ment of her influence now. What was her trade, or her 
colonies, or her literature, but private, not public achiev- 
ments, the triumph, not of State policy, but of personal 
effort .'' Rome sent out her colonies, as Russia now, 
with political foresight ; modern Europe has its State 
Universities, its Royal Academies, its periodical scientific 
Associations ; it was otherwise with Athens. There, 
great things were done by citizens working in their pri- 
vate capacity ; working, it must be added, not so much 
from patriotism as for their personal advantage ; or, if 
with patriotism, still with little chance of State encourage- 
ment or reward. Socrates, the greatest of her moralists, 
and since his day one of her chief glories, lived unrecog- 

The Athenians. 329 

nized and unrewarded, and died under a judicial sentence. 
Xenophon conducted his memorable retreat across Asia 
Minor, not as an Athenian, but as the mercenary or 
volunteer of a Persian Prince. Miltiades was of a family 
of adventurers, who by their private energy had founded 
a colony, and secured a lordship in the Chersonese ; and 
he met his death while prosecuting his private interests 
with his country's vessels. Themistocles had a double 
drift, patriotic and traitorous, in the very acts by which 
he secured to the Greeks the victory of Salamis, having 
in mind that those acts should profit him at the Persian 
court, if they did not turn to his account at home. Perhaps 
"ftre are not so accurately informed of what took place at 
Rome, when Hannibal threatened the city; but certainly 
Rome presents us with the picture of a strong State at 
that crisis, whereas, in the parallel trial, the Athens of 
Miltiades and Themistocles shows like the clever, dash- 
ing population of a large town. 

We have another sample of the genius of her citizens 
in their conduct at Pylos. Neither they, nor their 
officers, would obey the orders of the elder Demos- 
thenes, who was sent out to direct the movements of 
the fleet. In vain did he urge them to fortify the place; 
they did nothing; till, the bad weather detaining them 
on shore, and inaction becoming tedious, suddenly they 
fell upon the work with a will ; and, having neither tools 
nor carriages, hunted up stones where they could find 
them ready in the soil, made clay do the office of mortar, 
carried the materials on their backs, supporting them 
with their clasped hands, and thus finished the necessary- 
works in the course of a few days. 

By this personal enterprise and daring the Athenians 
were distinguished from the rest of Greece. "They are 
fond of change," say their Corinthian opponents in the 

330 Who's to Blame? 

Lacedemonian Council; "quick to plan and to perform, 
venturing beyond their power, hazarding beyond their 
judgment, and always sanguine in whatever difficulties. 
They are alive, while you, O Lacedemonians, dawdle ; 
and they love locomotion, while you are especially a 
home-people. They think to gain a point, even when 
they withdraw ; but with you, even to advance is to 
surrender what you have attained. When they defeat 
their foe, they rush on ; when they are beaten, they 
hardly fall back. What they plan and do not follow 
up, they deem an actual loss ; what they set about 
and gain, they count a mere instalment of the future ; 
what they attempt and fail in here, in anticipation they 
make up for there. Such is their labour and their risk 
from youth to age ; no men enjoy so little what they 
have, for they are always getting, and their best holi- 
day is to do a stroke of needful work ; and it is a 
misfortune to them to have to undergo, not the toil of 
business, but the listlessness of repose." 

I do not mean to say that I trace the Englishman in 
every clause of this passage ; but he is so far portrayed 
in it as a whole, as to suggest to us that perhaps he 
too, as well as the Athenian, has that inward spring of 
restless independence, which makes a State weak, and 
a Nation great. 



Parallel Characteristics of Englishmen. 

I HOPE I have now made it clear, that, in saying that a 
free State will not be strong, I am far indeed from say- 
ing that a People with what is called a free Constitution 
will not be active, powerful, influential, and successful. 
I am only saying that it will do its great deeds, not 
through the medium of its government, or politically, 
but through the medium of its individual members, or 
nationally. Self-government, which is another name for 
political weakness, may really be the means or the 
token of national greatness. Athens, as a State, was 
wanting in the elements of integrity, firmness, and con- 
sistency ; but perhaps that political deficiency was the 
very condition and a result of her intellectual activity. 

I will allow more than this readily. Not only in cases 
such as that of Athens, is the State's loss the Nation's 
gain, but further, most of those very functions which in 
despotisms are undertaken by the State may be per- 
formed in free countries by the Nation. For instance, 
roads, the posts, railways, bridges, aqueducts, and the 
like, in absolute monarchies, are governmental matters ; 
but they may be left to private energy, where self- 
government prevails. Letter-carriage indeed involves 
an extent of system and a punctuality in work, which is 
too much for any combination of individuals ; but the 
care of Religion, which is a governmental work in Russia, 
and partly so in England, is left to private competition 

332 Whds to Blaine 1 

in the United States, Education, in like manner, is 
sometimes provided by the State, sometimes left to 
religious denominations, sometimes to private zeal and 
charity. The Fine Arts sometimes depend on the 
patronage of Court or Government ; sometimes are 
given in charge to Academies; sometimes to committees 
or vestries. 

I do not say that a Nation will manage all these 
departments equally well, or so well as a despotic 
government ; and some departments it will not be able 
to manage at all. Did I think it could manage all, I 
should have nothing to write about. I am distinctly 
maintaining that the war department it cannot manage; 
that is my very point. It cannot conduct a war ; but 
not from any fault in the nation, or with any resulting 
disparagement to popular governments and Constitu- 
tional States, but merely because we cannot have all 
things at once in this world, however big we are, and 
because, in the nature of things, one thing cannot be 
another. I do not say that a Constitutional State never 
must risk war, never must engage in war, never will 
conquer in war ; but that its strong point lies in the other 
direction. If we would see what liberty, independence, 
self-government, a popular Constitution, can do, we must 
look to times of tranquillity. In peace a self-governing 
nation is prosperous in itself, and influential in the wide 
world. Its special works, the sciences, the useful arts, 
literature, the interests of knowledge generally, material 
comfort, the means and appliances of a happy life, thrive 
especially in peace. And thus such a nation spreads 
abroad, and subdues the world, and reigns in the admi- 
ration and gratitude and deference of men, by the use 
of weapons which war shivers to pieces. Alas ! that 
mortals do not know themselves, and will not (ac- 

The Englishinan. 333 

cording to the proverb) cut their coat according to their 
cloth ! " Optat epJiippia bos." John Bull, like other free, 
self-governing nations, would undertake a little war just 
now, as if it were \\\s forte, — as great lawyers have cared 
for nothing but a reputation for dancing gracefully, and 
literary men have bought a complex coat-of-arms at the 
Heralds' College. Why will we not content to be hu- 
man ? why not content with the well-grounded conscious- 
ness that no polity in the world is so wonderful, so good 
to its subjects, so favourable to individual energy, so 
pleasant to live under, as our own ? I do not say, why 
will we go to war ? but, why will we not think twice 
first ? why do we not ascertain our actual position, our. 
strength, our weakness, before we do so ? 

For centuries upon centuries England has been, like 
Attica, a secluded land ; so remote from the highway of 
the world, so protected from the flood of Eastern and 
Northern barbarism, that her children have grown into 
a magnanimous contempt of external danger. They 
have had " a cheap defence " in the stormy sea which 
surrounds them ; and, from time immemorial, they have 
had such skill in weathering it, that their wooden walls, 
to use the Athenian term, became a second rampart 
against the foe, whom wind and water did not over- 
whelm. So secure have they felt in those defences, that 
they have habitually neglected others ; so that, in spite 
of their valour, when a foe once gained the shore, be he 
Dane, or Norman, or Dutch, he was encountered by no 
sustained action or organized resistance, and became 
their king. These, however, were rare occurrences, and 
made no lasting impression ; they were not sufficient to 
divert them from pursuing, or to thwart them in attain- 
ing, the amplest measures of liberty. Whom had the 
people to fear ? not even their ships, which could not, 

334 '^hos to Blame? 

like military, become a paid force encircling a tyrant, 
and securing him against their resistance. 

To these outward circumstances of England, determin- 
ing the direction of its political growth, must be added 
the character of the people themselves. There are 
races to whom consanguinity itself is not concord and 
unanimity, but the reverse. They fight each other, 
for lack of better company. Imaginative, fierce, vindic- 
tive, with their clans, their pedigrees, and their feuds, 
snorting war, spurning trade or tillage, the old High- 
landers, if placed on the broad plains of England, would 
have in time run through their national existence, and 
died the death of the sons of CEdipus. But, if you wish 
to see the sketch of a veritable Englishman in strong 
relief, refresh your recollection of Walter Scott's " Two 
Drovers." He is indeed rough, surly, a bully and a 
bigot ; these are his weak points : but if ever there was 
a generous, good, tender heart, it beats within his breast. 
Most placable, he forgives and forgets : forgets, not only 
the wrongs he has received, but the insults he has in- 
flicted. Such he is commonly ; for doubtless there are 
times and circumstances in his dealings with foreigners in 
which, whether when in despair or from pride, he becomes 
truculent and simply hateful ; but at home his bark is 
worse than his bite. He has qualities, excellent for 
the purposes of neighbourhood and intercourse ; — and he 
has, besides, a shrewd sense, and a sobriety of judg- 
ment, and a practical logic, which passion does not 
cloud, and which makes him understand that good- 
fellowship is not only commendable, but expedient 
too. And he has within him a spring of energy, per- 
tenacity, and perseverance, which makes him as busy 
and effective in a colony as he is companionable at home. 
Some races do not move at all ; others are ever jostling 

The Englishman. 335 

against each other ; the Englishman is ever stirring, yet 
never treads too hard upon his fellow-countryman's toes. 
He does his work neatly, silently, in his own place ; he 
looks to himself, and can take care of himself; and he 
has that instinctive veneration for the law, that he can 
worship it even in the abstract, and thus is fitted to go 
shares with others all around him in that political 
sovereignity, which other races are obliged to concen- 
trate in one ruler. 

There was a time when England was divided into 
seven principalities, formed out of the wild warriors 
whom the elder race had called in to their own exter- 
mination. What would have been the history of 
those kingdoms if the invaders had been Highlanders 
instead of Saxons } But the Saxon Heptarchy went 
on, without any very desperate wars of kingdom with 
kingdom, pretty much as the nation goes on now. In- 
deed, I much question, supposing Englishmen rose one 
morning and found themselves in a Heptarchy again, 
whether its seven portions would not jog on together, 
much as they do now under Queen Victoria, the union 
in both cases depending, not so much on the government 
and tKe governed, but on the people, viewed in them- 
selves, to whom peaceableness, justice, and non-inter- 
ference are natural. 

It is an invaluable national quality to be keen, yet to 
be fair to others ; to be inquisitive, acquisitive, enter- 
prising, aspiring, progressive, without encroaching upon 
his next neighbour's right to be the same. Such a 
people hardly need a Ruler, as being mainly free from 
the infirmities which make a ruler necessary. Law., 
like medicine, is only called for to assist nature ; and, 
when nature does so much for a people, the wisest policy 
is, as far as possible, to leave them to themselves. This, 

^S^ Wno's to Blame? 

then, is the science of government with English States- 
men, to leave the people alone ; a free action, a clear 
stage, and they will do the rest for themselves. The 
more a Ruler meddles, the less he succeeds ; the less he 
initiates, the more he accomplishes ; his duty is that of 
overseeing, facilitating, encouraging, guiding, interposing 
on emergencies. Some races are like children, and 
require a despot to nurse, and feed, and dress them, to 
give them pocket money, and take them out for airings. 
Others, more manly, prefer to be rid of the trouble of 
their affairs, and use their Ruler as their mere manager 
and man of business. Now an Englishman Hkes to take 
his own matters into his own hands. He stands on his 
own ground, and does as much work as half a dozen men 
of certain other races. He can join too with others, and 
has a turn for organizing, but he insists on its being volun- 
tary. He is jealous of no one, except kings and govern- 
ments, and offensive to no one except their partisans 
and creatures. 

This, then, is the people for private enterprise ; and 
of private enterprise alone have I been speaking all 
along. What a place is London in its extent, its com- 
plexity, its myriads of dwellings, its subterraneous works ! 
It is the production, for the most part, of individual 
enterprise. Waterloo Bridge was the greatest architec- 
tural achievement of the generation before this ; it was 
built by shares. New regions, with streets of palaces 
and shops innumerable, each shop a sort of shrine or 
temple of this or that trade, and each a treasure-house 
of its own merchandize, grow silently into existence, the 
creation of private spirit and speculation. The gigantic 
system of railroads rises and asks for its legal status : 
prudent statesmen decide that it must be left to private 
companies, t^ the exclusion of Government. Trade is to* 

The Englishman. 337 

be encouraged : the best encouragement is, that it should 
be free. A famine threatens ; one thing must be avoided, 
— any meddling on the part of Government with the 
export and import of provisions. 

Emigration is in vogue : out go swarms of colonists, 
not, as in ancient times, from the Prytaneum, under 
State guidance and with religious rites, but each by 
himself, and at his own arbitrary and sudden will. The 
ship is wrecked ; the passengers are cast upon a rock, — 
or make the hazard of a raft. In the extremest peril, in 
the most delicate and most anxious of operations, every 
one seems to find his place, as if by magic, and does his 
work, and subserves the rest with coolness, cheerfulness, 
gentleness, and without a master. Or they have a fair 
passage, and gain their new country ; each takes his 
allotted place there, and works in it in his own way. 
Each acts irrespectively of the rest, takes care of number 
one, with a kind word and deed for his neighbour, but 
still as fully understanding that he must depend for 
his own welfare on himself Pass a few years, and a 
town has risen on the desert beach, and houses of busi- 
ness are extending their connexions and influence up the 
country. At length, a company of merchants make the 
place their homestead, and they protect themselves from 
their enemies with a fort. They need a better defence than 
they have provided, for a numerous host is advancing 
upon them, and they are likely to be driven into the 
sea. Suddenly a youth, the castaway of his family, 
half-clerk, half-soldier, puts himself at the head of a few 
troops, defends posts, gains battles, and ends in founding 
a mighty empire over the graves of Mahmood and 

It is the deed of one man ; and so, wherever we go 
all over the earth, it is the solitary Briton, the London 

* * 22 

SZS Who's to Blame? 

agent, or the Milordos, who is walking restlessly about, 
abusing the natives, and raising a colossus, or setting 
the Thames on fire, in the East or the West. He is on 
the top of the Andes, or in a diving-bell in the Pacific, 
or taking notes at Timbuctoo, or grubbing at the Pyra- 
mids, or scouring over the Pampas, or acting as prime 
minister to the king of Dahomey, or smoking the pipe 
of friendship with the Red Indians, or hutting at the Pole. 
No one can say beforehand what will come of these various 
specimens of the independent, self-governing, self-reliant 
Englishman. Sometimes failure, sometimes openings 
for trade, scientific discoveries, or political aggrandize- 
ments. His country and his government have the gain ; 
but it is he who is the instrument of it, and not political 
organization, centralization, systematic plans, authorita- 
tive acts. The polity of England is what it was before, — 
the Government weak, the Nation strong, — strong in the 
strength of its multitudinous enterprise, which gives to 
its Government a position in the world, which that 
Government could not claim for itself by any prowess or 
device of its own. 


Reverse of the Picture. 

The social union promises two great and contrary- 
advantages, Protection and Liberty, — such protection as 
shall not interfere with liberty, and such liberty as shall 
not interfere with protection. How much a given nation 
can secure of the one, and how much of the other, 
depends on its peculiar circumstances. As there are 
small frontier territories, which find it their interest to 
throw themselves into the hands of some great neigh- 
bour, sacrificing their libertfes as the price of purchas- 
ing safety from barbarians or rivals, so too there are 
countries which, in the absence of external danger, have 
abandoned themselves to the secure indulgence of 
freedom, to the jealous exercise of self-government, and 
to the scientific formation of a Constitution. And as, 
when liberty has to be surrendered for protection, the 
Horse must not be surprised if the Man whips or spurs 
him, so, when protection is neglected for the sake of 
liberty, he must not be surprised if he suffers from the 
horns of the Stag. 

Protected by the sea, and gifted with a rare energy, 
self-possession, and imperturbability, the English people 
have been able to carry out self-government to its limits, 
and to absorb into its constitutional action many of those 
functions which are necessary for the protection of any 
country, and commonly belong to the Executive ; and 
triumphing in their marvellous success they iiave thought 

340 W/io's to Blame ? 

no task too hard for them, and have from time to time 
attempted more than even England could accomplish. 
Such a crisis has come upon us now, and the Constitu- 
tion has not been equal to the occasion. For a year past 
we have been conducting a great war on our Consti- 
tutional routine, and have not succeeded in it. If we 
continue that routine, we shall have more failures, with 
France or Russia (whichever you please) to profit by it : 
— if we change it, we change what after all is Constitu- 
tional. It is this dilemma which makes me wish for 
peace, — or else some Deiis k machind, some one greater 
even than Wellington, to carry us through. We cannot 
depend upon Constitutional routine. 

People abuse routine, and say that all the mischief 
which happens is the fault of routine ; — but can they get 
out of routine, without getting out of the Constitution } 
That is the question. The fault of a routine Executive, 
I suppose, is not that the Executive always goes on in 
one way, — else, system is in fault, — but that it goes on 
in a bad way, or on a bad system. We must either 
change the system, then, — our Constitutional system ; or 
not find fault with its routine, which is according to it. 
The present Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry, for 
instance, is either a function and instrument of the routine 
system, — and therefore is making bad worse, — or is not, 
— and then perhaps it is only the beginning of an 
infringement of the Constitution. There may be Consti- 
tutional failures which have no Constitutional remedies, 
unwilling as we may be to allow it. They may be 
necessarily incidental to a free self-governing people. 

The Executive of a nation is the same all over the 
world, being, in other words, the administration of the 
nation's affairs ; it differs in different countries, not in its 
nature and office, nor in its ends, acts, or functions, but 

Reverse of the Picture. 341 

in its characteristics, as bein^ prompt, direct, effective, 
or the contrary ; that is, as being strong or feeble. If it 
pursues its ends earnestly, performs its acts vigorously 
and discharges its functions successfully, then it is a 
strong Executive ; if otherwise, it is feeble. Now, it is 
obvious, the more it is concentrated, that is, the fewer are 
its springs, and the simpler its mechanism, the stronger it 
is, because it has least friction and loss of power ; on 
the other hand, the more numerous and widely dispersed 
its centres of action are, and the more complex and cir- 
cuitous their inter-action, the more feeble it is. It is 
strongest, then, when it is lodged in one man out of the 
whole nation ; it is feeblest, when it is lodged, by par- 
ticipation or conjointly, in every man in it. How can 
we help what is self-evident .-' If the English people 
lodge power in the many, not in the few, what wonder 
that its operation is roundabout, clumsy, slow, inter- 
mittent, and disappointing } And what is the good of 
finding fault with the routine, if it is after all the principle 
of the routine, or the system, or the Constitution, which 
causes the hitch ? You cannot eat your cake and have 
it ; you cannot be at once a self-governing nation and 
have a strong government. Recollect Wellington's 
question in opposition to the Reform Bill, " How is the 
King's Government to be carried on 1 " We are beginning 
to experience its full meaning. 

A people so alive, so curious, so busy as the English, 
will be a power in themselves, independently of political 
arrangements ; and will be on that very ground jualousot" 
a rival, impatient of a master, and strong enough to cope 
with the one and to withstand the other. A government 
is their natural foe ; they cannot do without it altogether, 
but they will have of it as little as they can. They will 
forbid the concentration of power; they will multiply its 

342 Who's to Blame 1 

seats, complicate its acts, and make it safe by making it 
inefficient. They will take care that it is the worst- 
worked of all the many organizations which are found in 
their country. As despotisms keep their subjects in 
ignorance, lest they should rebel, so will a free people 
maim and cripple their government, lest it should 

This is human nature ; the more powerful a man is, 
the more jealous is he of other powers. Little men endure 
little men ; but great men aim at a solitary grandeur. 
The English nation is intensely conscious of itself ; it has 
seen, inspected, recognized, appreciated, and warranted 
itself. It has erected itself into a personality, under the 
style and title of John Bull. Most neighbourly is he when 
let alone ; but irritable, when commanded or coerced. 
He wishes to form his cwn judgment in all matters, and 
to have everything proved to him ; he dislikes the 
thought of generously placing his interests in the hands 
of others, he grudges to give up what he cannot really 
keep himself, and stickles for being at least a sleeping 
partner in transactions which are beyond him. He pays 
his people for their work, and is as proud of them, if they 
do it well, as a rich man of his tall footmen. 

Policy might teach him a different course. If you 
want your work done well, which you cannot do your- 
self, find the best man, put it into his hand, and trust 
him implicitly. An Englishman is too sensible not to 
understand this in private matters ; but in matters of 
State he is afraid of such a policy. He prefers the 
system of checks and counter-checks, the division of 
power, the imperative concurrence of disconnected 
officials, and his own supervision and revision, — the 
method of hitches, cross-purposes, collisions, dead- 
locks, to the experiment of treating his public servants 

Reverse of the Picture. 343 

as gentlemen. I am not quarelling with what is inevitable 
in his system of self-government ; I only say that he 
cannot expect his work done in the best style, if this is 
his mode of providing for it. Duplicate functionaries do 
but merge responsibility ; and a jealous master is paid 
with formal, heartless service. Do your footmen love 
you across the gulf which you have fixed between them 
and you ? and can you expect your store-keepers and 
harbour-masters at Balaklava not to serve you by rule 
and precedent, not to be rigid in their interpretation of 
your orders, and to commit themselves as little as they 
can, when you show no belief in their zeal, and have no 
mercy on their failures ? 

England, surely, is the paradise of little men, and the 
purgatory of great ones. May T never be a Minister of 
State or a Field-Marshal ! I'd be an individual, self-re- 
specting Briton, in my own private castle, with the Times 
to see the world by, and pen and paper to scribble off 
withal to some public print, and set the world right. 
Public men are only my employes ; I use them as I think 
tit, and turn them oflf without warning. Aberdeen, 
Gladstone, Sidney Herbert, Newcastle, what are they 
muttering about services and ingratitude ? were they hot 
paid .'' hadn't they their regular quarter-day 1 Raglan, 
Burgoyne, Dundas, — I cannot recollect all the fellows' 
names, — can they merit aught > can they be profitable 
to me their lord and master } And so, having no ten- 
derness or respect for their persons, their antecedents, 
or their age, — not caring that in fact they are serving 
me with all their strength, not asking whether, if they 
manage ill, it be not, perchance, because they are in the 
fetters of Constitutional red tape, which have weighed 
oa their hearts and deadened their energies, till the 
hazard of failure and the fear of censure have quenched 

344 Who's to Blame ? 

the spirit of daring, I think it becoming and generous, — 
during, not after their work, not when it is ended, but in 
the very agony of conflict, — to institute a formal process 
of inquiry into their demerits, not secret, not indulgent to 
their sense of honour, but in the hearing of all Europe, and 
amid the scorn of the world, — hitting down, knocking 
over, my workhouse apprentices, in order that they 
may get up again, and do my matters for me better. 

How farthesewaysof managing a crisis can be amended 
in a self-governing Nation, it is most difficult to say. They 
are doubly deplorable, as being both unjust and impolitic. 
They are kind, neither to ourselves, nor to our public 
servants ; and they so unpleasantly remind one of cer- 
tain passages of Athenian history, as to suggest that 
perhaps they must ever more or less exist, except where 
a despotism, by simply extinguishing liberty, effectuaiiy 
prevents its abuse. 


English Jealousy of Law Courts, 

People account for the mismanagement existing in the 
department of the military service, on the ground that 
war is a novelty in this generation, and that it will be 
corrected after the successive failures of a few years. This 
doubtless has something to do with our failure, but it is 
not a full explanation of it ; else, there would be no mis- 
managements in time of peace. But, if mismanagements 
exist in peace as well as in war, then we may conclude 
that they are some defect in our talent for organization ; 
a defect, the more unaccountable, because Englishmen are 
far from wanting in this faculty, as is shown by the great 
undertakings of our master builders and civil engineers. 
Yet all the time that private men have been directing 
matters and men on a large scale to definite ends, there has 
been a general feeling in the community that a govern- 
ment proceeding is a blunder or a job. From the Irish 
famines of 1822 to that of 1845 ^i^d following years, I 
think I recollect instances in point, though I have got no 
*ist to produce. As to the latter occasion, it is commonly 
said that to this day the Irish will not believe, in spite 
of the many millions voted to them by Parliament, that 
their population has not been deliberately murdered by 
the Government. This was a far larger instance of mis- 
management than that which the present Parliamentary 
Committee will bring to light. How then shall we ac- 
count for the phenomenon of the incapable Executive of 

34^ Who's to Blame ? 

a capable people better than by saying, that, for the 
very reason the people is capable, its Executive is in- 
capable, as I have been urging all along ? It is true, 
there are public departments of acknowledged efficiency, 
as the Post Office and the Police ; but these only show 
what the Executive could be, if the Nation gave it fair 

And thus I might end my remarks on the subject, 
which have already been discursive and excursive, be- 
yond the patience of most readers ; and yet I think it 
worth while, Mr. Editor, to try it a little more, if I gain 
your consent to my doing so. For I have not yet 
brought out so clearly as I wish, the relation of the Nation 
to the Executive, as it exists in this corner of the earth. 

The functions of the Executive are such as police, 
judicature, religion, education, finance, foreign trans- 
actions, war. The acts of the Executive are such as the 
appointment, instruction, supervision, punishment, and 
removal of its functionaries. The end of the Executive 
is to perform those functions by means of those acts with* 
despatch and success ; that is, so to appoint, instruct, 
superintend, and support its functionaries, as effectually 
to protect person and property, to dispense justice, to 
uphold religion, to provide for the country's expenses, 
to promote and extend its trade, to maintain its place in 
the political world, and to make it victorious and for- 
midable. These things, and such as these, are the end, — 
the direct, intelligible end, — of the Executive ; and to 
secure their accomplishment, and to secure men to 
accomplish them, one would suppose would be the one 
and only object of all Executive government ; but it is 
not the only object of the English. 

A very few words will explain what I mean. John, 
Duke of Marlborough, obtained for the town of Witney 

English Jealousy of Law Courts. 347 

a monopoly of blanket-making : accordingly, I believe, 
Witney at one time supplied the whole nation with 
blankets of such size and quality as the men of Witney 
chose. Looking at this as a national act, one would say, 
that the object of the nation was, not to provide itself 
with best blankets, but with Witney blankets ; and, did 
a foreigner object that the blankets were not good, he 
would speak beside the mark, and be open to the retort, 
" Nobody said they were good ; what we maintain is 
that they come from Witney." Now, applying this illustra- 
tion to our present circumstances, I humbly submit that, 
though the end of every Executive, as such, is to do its 
work well, cheaply, and promptly, yet, were the French 
in the Crimea to judge us by this principle, and to 
marvel at our choosing neither means or men in accord- 
ance with it, they would be simply criticising what they 
did not understand. The Nation's object never was that 
the Executive should be worked in the best possible way, 
but that the Nation should work it. It is altogether a 
family concern on a very large scale : the Executive is 
more or less in commission, and the commission is the 
Nation itself It vests in itself, as represented by its 
different classes, in perpetuity, the prerogative of jobbing 
the Executive. Nor is this so absurd as it seems : — the 
Nation has two ends in view, quite distinct from the 
proper end of the Executive itself ; — first, that the 
Government should not do too much, and next, that 
itself should have a real share in the Government. The 
balance of power, which has been the mainspring of our 
foreign politics, is the problem of our home affairs also. 
The great State Commission must be distributed in 
shares, in correspondence with the respective pretensions 
of its various expectants. Some States are cemented 
by loyalty, others by religion ; but ours by self-interest, in 

348 Who's to Bla?jic ? 

a large sense of the word. Each element of the political 
structure demands its special retainer ; and power is 
committed, not to the highest capacity, but to the largest 
possible constituency. The general public, the constitu- 
ency, the press, the aristocracy, the capital of the country, 
the mercantile interest, the Crown, the Court, the great 
Constitutional parties. Whig and Tory, the great religious 
parties. Church and Dissent, the country gentlemen, the 
professions — all must have their part and their proportion 
in the administration. Such is the will of the Nation, 
which had rather that its institutions should be firm and 
stable, than that they should be effective. 

But the Sovereign, perhaps it will be said, is the source 
of all jurisdiction in the EngHsh body political, as Tudor 
monarchs asserted, and Constitutional lawyers have 
handed down to us ; — yes, as the Merovingian king, not 
the Mayor of the Palace, was ruler of France, and as the 
Great Mogul, not the Company, is the supreme power in 
Hindostan, Could Victoria resume at her will that 
power which the Tudors exercised, but which slipped out 
of the hands of the Stuarts ^ The Pope, too, leaves his 
jurisdiction in the hands of numberless subordinate autho- 
rities, patriarchs, metropolitans, bishops, sacred congre- 
gations, religious orders ; he, however, can, if he pleases, 
recall what he has given, and sometimes, in fact, he does 
put them all aside. I think it would astonish the public 
if, to take a parallel case, our gracious Sovereign, motn 
propria, were to resume the management of the Crown 
lands, or re-distribute the dioceses without an Act of 
Parliament. Let us dismiss from our minds the fictions 
of antiquarians ; the British people divide among them- 
selves the executive powers of the Crown : — and now to 
give some illustrations in point. 

The end of the Judicature is justice. The functionaries 

English Jealousy of Law Courts. 349 

are commonly a jury, made up of men, not specially pre- 
pared for their occasional office, but chosen for it as repre- 
sentatives of a class, and performing it under the direction 
of a properly educated and experienced dignitary, called 
by courtesy the Judge. When I was young, I recollect 
being shocked at hearing an eminent man inveigh against 
this time-honoured institution, as if absurdly unfitted to 
promote the ends of the Law. He was answered by an 
able lawyer, who has since occupied the judicial bench ; 
and he, instead of denying that precise allegation, argued 
that the institution had a beneficial political effect on the 
classes who were liable to serve as jurymen, as associating 
them with the established order of things, and investing 
them with salutary responsibilities. There is a good 
deal in this reason : — a still more plausible defence, I 
think, may be found in the consideration of the inexpe- 
diency of suffering the tradition of Law to flow separate 
from that of popular feeling, whereas there ought to be 
a continual influx of the national mind into the judicial 
conscience; and, unless there was this careful adjustment 
between law and politics, the standards of right and 
wrong, set up at Westminster, would diverge from those 
received by the community at large, and the Nation 
might some day find itself condemned and baffled by its 
own supreme oracle of truth. This would be gravely 
inconvenient ; accordingly, as the Star Chamber recog- 
nized the royal decisions as precedents in law, and 
formed a tradition of the Court, so it is imperative, in our 
better state of things, that Public Opinion should give 
the law to Law, and should rule those questions which 
directly bear upon any matter of national concern. By 
the expedient, then, of a Jury, the good of the country is 
made to take the lead of private interest ; for better far is 
it that injustice should be done to a pack of individuals, 

350 Who's to Bia7ne? 

than that the maxims of the Nation should at any time 
incur the animadversion of its own paid officials, and a 
deadlock in State matters should be the result of so un- 
fortunate an antagonism. 

What makes me think that this is the real meaning of 
a jury, is what has lately taken place in a parallel way in 
the Committee of Privy Council on the baptismal con- 
troversy. My lords refused to go into the question of 
the truth of the doctrine in dispute, or into the meaning 
of the language used in the Prayer Book ; they merely 
asserted that a certain neutral reading of that language, by 
which it would bear contrary senses, was more congenial 
with the existing and traditional sentiments of the English 
people. They felt profoundly that it would never do to 
have the Church of the Nation at variance in opinion 
with the Nation itself. In other words, neither does 
English law seek justice, nor English religion seek truth, 
as ultimate and simple ends, but such a justice and such 
a truth as may not be inconsistent with the interests of 
large conservatism. 

Again, I have been told by an eminent lawyer, that, 
in another ecclesiastical dispute which came before the 
Queen's Bench, a Chief Justice, now no more, rather 
than commit the Court to an unpopular decision, reversed 
the precedents of several centuries. No one could 
suspect that upright Judge of cowardice, time-serving, 
or party prejudice. The circumstances explained the 
act. Those precedents were out of keeping with the 
present national mind, which must be the perpetual 
standard and authoritative interpreter of the law ; and, 
as the Minister for Foreign Affairs instructs the Queen's 
representative at a Congress, what to think and say, so 
it is the Nation's right to impose upon the Judges the 
duty of expounding certain points of law in a sense 

English yealoiisy of Law Courts. 351 

agreeable to its high and mighty self. Accordingly the 
Chief Justice's decision on the occasion inquestion resulted 
in giving the public (as Lord John Russell expressed it 
as regards the Baptismal question) " great satisfaction," 
For satisfaction, peace, liDerty, conservative interests, 
were the supreme end of the law, and not mere raw 
justice, as such. It is another illustration of the same 
spirit, though it does not strictly fall under our subject, 
that, at the public meeting held to thank that earnest and 
energetic man, Mr. Maurice, for the particular complexion 
of one portion of his theology, a speaker congratulated 
him on having, in questioning or denying eternal punish- 
ment, given (not a more correct, but) a " more genial " 
interpretation to the declarations of Holy Scripture. 

Much, again, might be said upon the Constitutional 
rights of wealth, as tending to the weakening of the 
Executive. Wealth does not indeed purchase the higher 
appointments in the Law, but it can purchase situations, 
not only in the clerical, but in the military and civil 
services, and in the legislature. It is difficult to draw 
the line between such recognized transactions, and what 
is invidiously called corruption. As to parliamentary 
matters, I can easily understand the danger of that mode 
of proceeding, which I have called Constitutional, being 
carried too far. I can do justice to the feeling which, on 
a late occasion, if I recollect rightly, caused a will to be 
set aside, which provided for the purchase of a peerage. 
We must, of course, draw the line somewhere ; but if 
you take your stand on principle, as it is the fashion to 
do, then I cannot go along with you, and have never 
been able to see the specific wickedness (where oaths 
are not broken or evaded) of buying a seat in Parliament, 
as contrasted with the purchase of an eligible incumbency. 
It must not be forgotten, that, from the time of Sir 

352 Who's to Blame f 

Robert Walpole, bribes, to use an uncivil word, have 
been necessary to our Constitutional regime ; — visions of 
a higher but impracticable system having died away 
with Bolingbroke's " Patriot King." 

This is but one instance of what is seen in so many 
various ways, that our Executive is on principle sub- 
ordinate to class interests; we consider it better that it 
should work badly, than work to the inconvenience and 
danger of our national liberties. Such is self-govern- 
ment. Ideal standards, generous motives, pure principles, 
precise aims, scientific methods, must be excluded, and 
national utility must be the rule of administration. It is 
not a high system, but no human system is such. The 
knout and the tar-barrel aforementioned are not more 
defensible modes of proceeding, and are less pleasant 
than ours. Under ours, the individual is consulted for 
far more carefully than under despotism or democracy. 
Injustice is the exception ; a free and easy mode of 
living is the rule. It is a venal regime ; que voulez-vons ? 
improvement may make things worse. It succeeds in 
making things pleasant at home ; whether it succeeds 
in war is another question. 



English yealousy of Church and Army. 

In spite of the administrative weakness, characteristic 
of the English Constitution, from its defects in organiza- 
tion, from the interference of traditional principles and 
extraneous influences in its working, and from the cor- 
ruption and jobbing incident to it, still so vast are its 
benefits in the security which it offers to person and 
property, in the freedom of speech, locomotion, and 
action, in the religious toleration, and in the general 
tranquillity and comfort, which go with it ; and again, so 
numerous and various are the material and mechanical 
advantages which the energy of the people has associated 
with it, that, I suppose, England is, in a political and 
national point of view, the best country to live in in the 
world. It has not the climate, it has not the faith, it has 
not the grace and sweetness, the festive cheerfulness, the 
social radiance, of some foreign cities and people ; but 
nowhere else surely can you have so much your own 
way, nowhere can you find ready to your hand so many 
of your wants and wishes. Take things as a whole, and 
the Executive and Nation work well, viewed in their 
results. What is it to the average Englishman that a 
jury sometimes gives an unjust verdict, that seats in 
Parliament are virtually bought, that the prizes of the 
Establishment are attained by interest, not merit, that 
political parties and great families monopolize the go- 
vernment, and share among themselves its places and 


354 Who's to Blame 1 

appointments, or that the public press is every now and 
then both cowardly and tyrannical, — what is all this com- 
pared with the upshot of the whole national and political 
system ? 

Look at things as a philosopher, and you Avill learn 
resignation, or rather thankful content, by perceiving 
that they all so hang together, that on the whole you 
cannot make them much better, nor can gain much more 
without losing much. No idea or principle of political 
society includes in its operation all conceivable good, or 
excludes all evil ; that is the best form of society which 
has most of the good, and least of the bad. In the 
English ideal, the Nation is the centre, — "I'Etat c'est 
moi : " and everything else is dependent and subser- 
vient. We are carried back in our thoughts to the fable 
of Menenius Agrippa, though with a changed adaptation.. 
The Nation is the sacred seat of vital heat and nourish- 
ment, the original element, and the first principle, and 
the number one of the State framework, and in its various 
members we find, not what is most effective or exquisite 
of its kind, but accessories compatible with the supremacy 
of that digestive and nutritive apparatus. The whole 
body politic is in unity: "cujus participatio ejus in id 
ipsum." The kingly office does not give scope for the 
best of conceivable kings, but for the chief of a self- 
governing people ; the ministers of state, the members of 
Parliament, the judges, are not intended to be perfect in 
their own kind respectively, but national statesmen, 
councillors and lawyers ; the bishops and commanders 
of the forces, the squires and the justices of the peace, be- 
long to a Constitutional clergy, soldiery, and magistracy. 
I will not say that nothing admits of improvement, or 
what is called "reform," in such a society; I will not 
attempt to determine the limits of improvement ; still 

Ejiglish Jealousy of Church and Anny. 355 

a limit there is, and things must remain in substance 
what they are, or "Old England" will cease to be. Let 
us be merciful to ourselves; as in our own persons, 
one by one, we consult for our particular constitution 
of mind and body, and avoid efforts and aims, modes of 
exercise and diet, which are unsuitable to it, so in like 
manner those who appreciate the British Constitution 
aright will show their satisfaction at what it does well, 
resignation as to what it cannot do, and prudence in 
steering clear of those problems which are difficult or 
dangerous in respect to it. Such men will not make it 
dance on its lame leg. They will not go to war, if they 
can help it, for the conduct of war is not among its chef- 
d'ceuvres, as I now, for positively the last time, will explain. 

Material force is the ultima ratio of political society 
everywhere. Arms alone can keep the peace; and, as 
all other professions are reducible to system and rule, 
there is of course a science and an art of war. This 
art is learned like other arts by study and practice ; it 
supposes the existence of expounders and instructors, 
an experimental process, a circulation of ideas, a tradi- 
tionary teaching, and an aggregation of members, — in a 
word, a school. Continuity, establishment, organization, 
are necessary to the idea of a school and a craft. In 
other words, if war be an art, and not a matter of hap- 
hazard and pell-mell fighting, as under the walls of Troy, 
it requires what is appropriately called a standing army, 
that is, an army which has a status. Unless we are in a 
happy valley, or on a sea-protected island, we must have 
a standing army, or we are open to hostile attack. 

But, when you have got your standing army, how are 
you to keep it from taking the wrong side, and turning 
upon you. like elephants in Eastern fights, instead of 

356 Who s 10 Blame? 

repelling your foe ? Thus it was that the Pretorians, 
the Gothic mercenaries, the medieval Turks, and later 
Janizzaries, became the masters and upsetters of the 
Emperors, Caliphs, and Sultans who employed them. 
This formidable difficulty has been fatal to the military 
profession :n popular governments, who in alarm have 
thrown the national defence upon the Nation, aided, as it 
might happen, by foreign mercenaries paid by the job. 
In such governments, the war department has not been 
the science of arms, but apolitical institution. An army 
has been raised for the occasion from off the estates and 
homesteads of the land, being soldiers of the soil, as 
rude as they were patriotic. When a danger threatened, 
they were summoned from plough or farm-yard, formed 
into a force, marched against the enemy, with whatever 
success in combat, and then marched home again. Which 
of the two would be the greater, — the inconvenience or 
the insufficiency of such a mode of waging war } Thus 
we have got round again to the original dilemma of the 
Horse, the Stag, and the Man; the Horse destined to feel 
at his flanks the Man's spurs, or the Stag's horns, — a Stand- 
ing Army, or no profession of arms. In this difficulty, 
we must strike a balance and a compromise, and then get 
on as well as we can with a conditional Standing Army 
and a smattering in military science. Such has been 
the course adopted by England ; and her insular situa- 
tion, hitherto impregnable, has asked for nothing more. 

Every sovereign State will naturally feel a jealousy of 
>he semblance of zxiimperium in imperio; though not every 
State is in a condition to give expression to it. England 
has indulged that jealousy to the full, and has assumed a 
bearing towards the military profession much the same 
as she shows towards the ecclesiastical. There is indeed 
a close analogy between these two powers, both in them- 

English Jealousy of Church atid Army, 357 

selves and in their relation to the State ; and, in order 
to explain the position of the army in England, I can- 
not do better than refer to the position which in this 
country has been assigned to the Church. The Church 
and the Army are respectively the instruments of moral 
and material force ; and are real powers in their own 
respective fields of operation. They necessarily have 
common sympathies, and an intense esprit de corps. 
They are in consequence the strongest supports or the 
most formidable opponents of the State to which they 
belong, and require to be subjected, beyond any mistake, 
to its sovereignty. In England, sensitively suspicious 
of combination and system, three precautions have been 
taken in dealing with the soldier and the parson, — (I 
hope I may be familiar without offence), — precautions 
borrowed from the necessary treatment of wild animals, 
— (l) to tie him up, (2) to pare his claws, and (3) to keep 
him low ; then he will be both safe and useful ; — the 
result is a National Church, and a Constitutional Army. 

I. In the first place, we tie both parson and soldier up, 
by forbidding each to form one large organization. We 
prohibit an organized religion and an organized force. 
Instead of one corporation in religion, we only allow of 
a multitude of small ones, as chapters and rectories, 
while we ignore the Establishment as a whole, deny it 
any legal status, and recognize the Dissenting bodies. 
For Universities we substitute Colleges, with rival inte- 
rests, that the intellect may not be too strong for us, as is 
the case with some other countries ; but we freely multiply 
local schools, for they have no political significance. 
And, in like manner, we are willing to perfect the dis- 
cipHne and appointment of regiments, but we instinc- 
tively recoil from the idea of an Army. We toast indeed 
" The Army/' but as an abstraction, as we used to drink to 

35^ Whds to Blame? 

" The Church," before the present substitution of "The 
Clergy of all denominations," which has much more of 
reality in it. Moreover, while, we have a real reason 
for sending our troops all over the world, shifting them 
about, using them for garrison duty, and for the defence 
of dependencies, we are thereby able also to divide and 
to hide them from each other. Nor is this all : if any or- 
ganization requires a directing mind at the head of it, it 
is an army ; but, faithful to our Constitutional instincts, 
we have committed its command, ex abwidanti cautela, 
to as many, I believe, as five independent boards, whose 
concurrence is necessary for a practical result. Nay, as 
late occurrences have shown, we have thought it a lesser 
evil, that our troops should be starved in the Crimea for 
want of the proper officer to land the stores, and that 
clothing and fuel shall oscillate to and fro between 
Balaklava and Malta, than that there should be the 
chance of the smallest opening for the introduction into 
our political system of a power formidable to nationalism. 
Thus we tie up both parson and soldier. 

2. Next, in all great systems and agencies of any 
kind, there are certain accessories, absolutely necessary 
for their efficiency, yet hardly included in their essential 
idea. Such, to take a very small matter, is the use of 
the bag in making a pudding. Material edifices are no 
part of religion ; but you cannot have religious services 
without them ; nor can you move field-pieces without 
horses, nor get together horses without markets and trans- 
ports. The greater part of these supplemental articles the 
English Constitution denies to its religious Establishment 
altogether, and to its Army, when not on active service. 
Fabrics of worship it encourages ; but it gives no coun- 
tenance to such ecclesiastical belongings as the ritual and 
ceremonial of religion, synods, religious orders, sisters of 

English Jealousy of Church and Army. 359 

charity, missions, and the like, necessary instruments of 
Christian faith, which zealous Churchmen, in times of 
spiritual danger, decay, or promise, make vain endea- 
vours to restore. And such in military matters are the 
commissariat, transport, and medical departments, which 
are jealously suppressed in time of peace, and hastily 
and grudgingly restored on the commencement of hos- 
tilities. The Constitutional spirit allows to the troops 
arms and ammunition, as it allows to the clergy Ordina- 
tion and two sacraments, neither being really dangerous, 
while the supplements, which I have spoken of, are 
withheld. Thus it cuts their claws. 

3. And lastly, it keeps them low. Though lawyers 
are educated for the law, and physicians for medicine, 
it is felt among us to be dangerous to the Constitution to 
have real education either in the clerical or military pro- 
fession. Neither theology nor the science of war is 
compatible with a national regime. Military and naval 
science is, in the ordinary Englishman's notion, the 
bayonet and the broadside. Religious knowledge comes 
by nature; and so far is true, that Anglican divines 
thump away in exhortation or in controversy, with a 
manliness, good sense, and good will as thoroughly John 
Bullish as the stubbornness of the Guards at Inkerman. 
Not that they are forbidden to cultivate theology in pri- 
vate as a personal accomplishment, but that they must 
not bring too much of it into the pulpit, for then they 
become " extreme men," Calvinists or Papists, as it may 
be. A general good education, a public school, and a 
knowledge of the classics, make a parson ; and he is 
chosen for a benefice or a dignity, not on any abstract 
ground of merit, but by the great officers of State, by 
members of the aristocracy, and by country gentlemen, 
or their nominees, men who by their position are a suffi- 

360 wild s to Blame 'i 

cient guarantee that the nation will continually flow into 
the Establishment, and give it its own colour. And so 
of the army ; it is not so many days ago that a gentle- 
man in office assured the House of Commons (if he was 
correctly reported) that the best officers were those who 
had a University education ; and I doubt not it is far 
better for the troops to be disciplined and commanded 
by good scholars than by incapables and dunces. But in 
each department professional education is eschewed, and 
it is thought enough for the functionary^ to be a gentle- 
man. A clergyman is the " resident gentleman " in his 
parish ; and no soldier must rise from the ranks, because 
he is not ** company for gentlemen." 

Let no man call this satire, for it is most seriously 
said ; nor have I intentionally coloured any one sentence 
in the parallel which I have been drawing out ; nor do I 
speak as grumbling at things as they are; — I merely 
want to look facts in the face. I have been exposing 
what I consider the weak side of our Constitution, not 
exactly because I want it altered, but because people 
should not consider it the strong side. I think it a 
necessary weakness ; I do not see how it can be satisfac- 
torily set right without dangerous innovations. We 
cannot in this world have all things as we should like to 
have them. Not that we should not try for the best, but 
we should be quite sure that we do not, like the dog in the 
fable, lose what we have, in attempting what we cannot 
have. Not that I deny that, even with a Constitution 
adapted for peace, British energy and pluck may not, as 
it has done before, win a battle, or carry through a war. 
But after all, reforms are but the first steps in revolution, 
as medicine is often a diluted poison. Enthusiasts have 
from time to time thought otherwise. There was Dr. 
Whately in 1826, who maintained that the Establishment 

JEnglish Jealousy of Church and Army. 361 

was in degrading servitude, that it had a dog's collar 
round its neck, that the position of Bishops was intoler- 
able, and that it was imperative to throw off State control, 
keeping the endowments* And there is the Times 
newspaper in 1855, which would re-organize the Army, 
and put it on a scientific basis, satisfactory indeed to the 
military critic, startling to the Constitutional politician. 

Mr. Macaulay gives us a warning from history. " The 
Constitution of England," he says, " was only one of a 
large family. In the fifteenth century, the government 
of Castile seems to have been as free as that of our own 
country. That of Arragon was, beyond all questipn, 
more so even than France ; the States-General alone 
could impose taxes. Sweden and Denmark had Con- 
stitutions of a different description. Let us overleap 
two or three hundred years, and contemplate Europe at 
the commencement of the eighteenth century. Every 
free Constitution, save one, had gone down. That o^ 
England had weathered the danger, and was riding in full 
security. What, then, made us to differ t The progress 
of civilization introduced a great change. War became a 
science, and, as a necessary consequence, a trade. The 
great body of the people grew every day more reluctant 
to undergo the inconvenience of military service, and 
thought it better to pay others for undergoing them. 
That physical force which in the dark ages had belonged 
to the nobles and the commons, and had, far more than 
any charter or any assembly, been the safeguard of their 
privileges, was transferred entire to the king. The great 
mass of the population, destitute of all military discipline 
and organization, ceased to exercise any influence by 
force on political transactions. Thus absolute monarchy 

* [I am informed that Dr. Whately never acknowledged the work here 
referred to as his own.] 

362 Who' s to Blame ? 

was established on the Continent ; England escaped, but 
she escaped very narrowly. If Charles had played the 
part of Gustavus Adolphus, if he had carried on a popular 
war for the defence of the Protestant cause in Germany, 
if he had gratified the national pride by a series of 
victories, if he had formed an army of 40,000 or 50,000 
devoted soldiers, we do not see what chance the nation 
would have had of escaping from despotism." 

These are very different times ; but, however steady 
and self-righting is John Bull, however elastic his step, 
and vigorous his arm, I do not see how the strongest and 
healthiest build can overcome difficulties which lie in the 
very nature of things. 

And now, however circuitously, I have answered my 
question, " Who's to blame for the untoward events in 
the Crimea .'' " They are to blame, the ignorant, intem- 
perate public, who clamour for an unwise war, and then, 
when it turns out otherwise than they expected, instead 
of acknowledging their fault, proceed to beat their zealous 
servants in the midst of the fight for not doing impossi- 

March, 1855. 




THE word " remarkable " has been so hacked of late 
in theological criticism — nearly as much so as 
" earnest " and " thoughtful " — that we do not like to 
apply it without an apology to the instance of a recent 
work, called "Ecce Homo," which we propose now to 
bring before the reader. In truth, it presents itself as 
a very convenient epithet, whenever we do not like to 
commit ourselves to any definite judgment on any subject 
before us, and prefer to spread over it a broad neutral 
tint to painting it distinctly white, red, or black. A man, 
or his work, or his deed, is " remarkable" when he pro- 
duces an effect ; be he effective for good or for evil, for truth 
or for falsehood — a point which, as far as that expression 
goes, we by adopting it, leave it for others or for the 
future to determine. Accordingly it is just the word to 
use in the instance of a Volume in which what is trite 
and what is novel, what is striking and what is startling, 
what is sound and what is untrustworthy, what is deep 
and what is shallow, are so mixed up together, or at 
least so vaguely suggested, or so perplexingly confessed, 
— which has so much of occasional force and circumam- 
bient glitter, of pretence and of seriousness, — as to make 
it impossible either with a good conscience to praise it, or 
without harshness and unfairness to condemn. Such a 
book is at least likely to be effective, whatever else it is or 

364 An mternal Argument 

is not ; it may be safely called remarkable ; and therefore 
■*ve apply the epithet "remarkable" to this Ecce Homo. 

It is remarkable, then, on account of the sensation 
which it has made in religious circles. In the course of 
a few months it has reached a third edition, though it is 
a fair-sized octavo, and not an over-cheap one. And it 
has received the praise of critics and reviewers of very 
distinct shades of opinion. Such a reception must be 
owing either to the book itself, or to the circumstances 
of the day in which it has appeared, or to both of these 
causes together. Or, as seems to be the case, the needs 
of the day have become a call for some such work ; and 
the work, on its appearance, has been thankfully wel- 
comed, on account of its professed object, by those whose 
needs called for it. The author includes himself in the 
number of these ; and while providing for his own wants 
he has ministered to theirs. This is what we especially 
mean by calling his book " remarkable." It deserves 
remark, because it has excited it. 


Disputants may maintain, if they please, that religious 
doubt is our appropriate, our normal state ; that to cherish 
doubts is our duty ; that to complain of them is impa> 
tience ; that to dread them is cowardice ; that to over- 
come them is inveracity ; that it is even a happy state, 
a state of calm philosophic enjoyment, to be conscious 
of them ; — but after all, unavoidable or not, such a state 
is not natural, and not happy, if the voice of mankind is 
to decide the question. English minds, in particular, 
have too much of a religious temper in them, as a natural 
gift, to acquiesce for any long time in positive, active 
doubt. For doubt and devotion are incompatible 
with each other ; every doubt, be it greater or less, 

for Christianity. 365 

stronger or weaker, involuntary as well as voluntar}'-, acts 
upon devotion, so far forth, as water sprinkled, or dashed, 
or poured out upon a flame. Real and proper doubt 
kills faith, and devotion with it ; and even involuntary 
or half-deliberate doubt, though it does not actually kill 
faith, goes far to kill devotion ; and religion without de- 
votion is little better than a burden, and soon becomes a 
superstition. Since, then, this is a day of objection and 
of doubt about the intellectual basis of Revealed Truth, 
it follows that there is a great deal of secret discomfort 
and distress in the religious portion of the community, 
the result of that general curiosity in speculation and 
inquiry which has been the growth among us of the last 
twenty or thirty years. 

The people of this country, being Protestants, appeal 
to Scripture, when a religious question arises, as their 
ultimate informant and decisive authority in all such 
matters ; but who is to decide for them the previous 
question, that Scripture is really such an authority } 
When, then, as at this time, its divine authority is the 
very point to be determined, that is, the character and 
extent of its inspiration and its component parts, then they 
find themselves at sea, without the means of directing 
their course. Doubting about the authority of Scrip- 
ture, they doubt about its substantial truth ; doubting 
about its truth, they have doubts concerning the Object 
which it sets before their faith, about the historical ac- 
curacy and objective reality of the picture which it pre- 
sents to us of our Lord. We are not speaking of wilful 
doubting, but of those painful misgivings, greater or less, 
to which we have already referred. Religious Protest- 
ants, when they think calmly on the subject, can hardly 
conceal from themselves that they have a house without 
logical foundations, which contrives indeed for the pre- 

366 An internal Argument 


sent to stand, but which may go any day, — and where 
are they then ? 

Of course Catholics will bid them receive the canon 
of Scripture on the authority of the Church, in the spirit 
of St, Augustine's well-known words : " I should not 
believe the Gospel, were I not moved by the authority 
of the Catholic Church." But who, they ask, is to be 
voucher in turn for the Church, and for St. Augustine!* — is 
it not as difficult to prove the authority of the Church 
and her doctors as the authority of the Scriptures ? We 
Catholics answer, and with reason, in the negative ; but, 
since they cannot be brought to agree with us here, what 
argumentative ground is open to them ? Thus they seem 
drifting, slowly perhaps, but surely, in the direction of 


It is under these circumstances that they are invited, 
in the Volume of which we have spoken, to betake them- 
selves to the contemplation of our Lord's character, as 
it is recorded by the Evangelists, as carrying with it 
its own evidence, dispensing with extrinsic proof, and 
claiming authoritatively by itself the faith and devotion 
of all to whom it is presented. Such an argument, of 
course, is as old as Christianity itself; the young man 
in the Gospel calls our Lord " Good Master," and St. 
Peter introduces Him to the first Gentile converts as one 
who " went about doing good ; " and in these last times 
we can refer to the testimony even of unbelievers in be- 
half of an argument which is as simple as it is constrain- 
ing. " Si la vie et la mort de Socrate sont d'un sage," 
says Rousseau, " la vie et la mort de Jesus sont d'un 
Dieu." And he clenches the argument by observing, 
that were the picture a mere conception of the sacred 

for Christianity. 367 

writers, "I'inventeur en seraitplus etonnantque le heros." 
The force of this argument lies in its directness ; it comes 
to the point at once, and concentrates in itself evidence, 
doctrine, and devotion. In theological language, it is the 
motivum credibilitatis, the objectum 'tnateriale, and the/^r- 
male, all in one ; it unites human reason and supernatural 
faith in one complex act ; and it comes home to all men, 
educated and ignorant, young and old. And it is the 
point to which, after all and in fact, all religious minds 
tend, and in which they ultimately rest, even if they do 
not start from it. Without an intimate apprehension of 
the personal character of our Saviour, what professes to 
be faith is little more than an act of ratiocination. If 
faith is to live, it must love ; it must lovingly live in the 
Author of faith as a true and living Being, in Deo vivo et 
vero ; according to the saying of the Samaritans to their 
townswoman : " We now believe, not for thy saying, for 
we ourselves have heard Him." Many doctrines may 
be held implicitly ; but to see Him as if intuitively is 
the very promise and gift of Him who is the object of 
the intuition. We are constrained to believe when it is 
He that speaks to us about Himself. 

Such undeniably is the characteristic of divine faith 
viewed in itself: but here we are concerned, not simply 
with faith, but with its logical antecedents ; and the 
question returns on which we have already touched, as a 
difficulty with Protestants, — how can our Lord's Life, as 
recorded in the Gospels, be a logical ground of faith, 
unless we set out with assuming the truth of those 
Gospels; that is, without assuming, as proved, the original 
matter of doubt ? And Protestant apologists, it may be 
urged — Paley, for instance — show their sense of this 
difficulty when they place the argument drawn from our 
Lord's character only among the auxiliary Evidences of 

368 An internal Argument 

Christianity. Now the following answer may fairly be 
made to this objection ; nor need we grudge Protestants 
the use of it, for, as will appear in the sequel, it proves 
too much for their purpose, as being an argument for the 
divinity not only of Christ's mission, but of that of His 
Church also. However, we say this by the way. 

It may be maintained then, that, making as large an 
allowance as the most sceptical mind, when pressed to 
state its demands in full, would desire, we are at least 
safe in asserting that the books of the New Testament, 
taken as a whole, were existing about the middle of the , 
second century, and were then received by Christians, or 
were in the way of being received, and nothing else but 
they were received, as the authoritative record of the 
origin and rise of their Religion. In that first age they 
were the only account of the mode in which Christianity 
was introduced to the world. Internal as well as exter- 
nal evidence sanctions us in so speaking. Four Gospels, 
the book of the Acts of the Apostles, various Apostolic 
writings, made up then, as now, our sacred books. 
Whether there was a book more or less, say even an 
important book, does not affect the general character of 
the Religion as those books set it forth. Omit one or 
other of the Gospels, and three or four Epistles, and the 
outline and nature of its objects and its teaching remain 
what they were before the omission. The moral pecu- 
liarities, in particular, of its Founder are, on the whole, 
identical, whether we learn them from St. Matthew, 
St. John, St. Peter, or St. Paul. He is not in one book 
a Socrates, in another a Zeno, and in a third an Epicurus. 
Much less is the religion changed or obscured by the 
loss of particular chapters or verses, or even by inac- 
curacy in fact, or by error in opinion, (supposing per 
irnpossihile such a charge could be made good,) in parti- 

for Christianity. 369 

cular portions of a book. For argument's sake, suppose 
that the three first Gospels are an accidental collection 
of traditions or legends, for which no one is responsible, 
and in which Christians had faith because there was 
nothing else to put faith in. This is the limit to which 
extreme scepticism can proceed, and we are willing to 
commence our argument by granting it. Still, starting 
at this disadvantage, we should be prepared to argue, that 
if, in spite of this, and after all, there be shadowed out 
in these anonymous and fortuitous documents a Teacher 
sui generis, distinct, consistent, and original, then does 
that picture, thus accidentally resulting, for the very 
reason of its accidental composition, only become more 
marvellous ; then is He an historical fact, and again a 
supernatural or divine fact ; — historical from the consis- 
tency of the representation, and because the time cannot 
be assigned when it was not received as a reality ; and 
supematural, in proportion as the qualities with which 
He is invested in those writings are incompatible with 
what it is reasonable or possible to ascribe to human 
nature viewed simply in itself Let these writings be as 
open to criticism, whether as to their origin or their text, 
as sceptics can maintain ; nevertheless the representation 
in question is there, and forces upon the mind a convic- 
tion that it records a fact, and a superhuman fact, just 
as the reflection of an object in a stream remains in 
its general form, however rapid the current, and however 
many the ripples, and is a sure warrant to us of the 
presence of the object on the bank, though that object 
be out of sight. 


Such, we conceive, though stated in our own words, is 
the argument drawn out in the pages before us, or rather 
*** 24 

370 An internal ArgMme7it 

such is the ground on which the argument is raised ; 
and the interest which it has excited hes, not in its 
novelty, but in the particular mode in which it is brought 
before the reader, in the originality and precision of 
certain strokes by which is traced out for us the outline 
of the Divine Teacher. These strokes are not always 
correct ; they are sometimes gratuitous, sometimes 
derogatory to their object ; but they are always deter- 
minate ; and, being such, they present an old argument 
before us with a certain freshness, which, because it is 
old, is necessary for its being effective. 

We do not wonder at all, then, at the sensation which 
the Volume is said to have caused at Oxford, and 
among Anglicans of the Oxford school, after the weari- 
some doubt and disquiet of the last ten years; for it has 
opened the prospect of a successful issue of inquiries in 
an all-important province of thought, where there seemed 
to be no thoroughfare. Distinct as are the liberal and 
Catholicizing parties in the Anglican Church both in 
their principles and their policy, it must not be supposed 
that they are also as distinct in the members that compose 
them. No line of demarcation can be drawn between 
the one collection of men and the other, in fact ; for no 
two minds are altogether alike; and individually, Angli- 
cans have each his own shade of opinion, and belong 
partly to this school, partly to that. Or rather, there is 
a large body of men who are neither the one nor the 
other; they cannot be called an intermediate party, for 
they have no discriminating watchwords ; they range 
from those who are almost Catholic to those who are 
almost Liberals. They are not Liberals, because they 
do not glory in a state of doubt ; they cannot profess to 
be "Anglo-Catholics," because they are not prepared to 
give an internal assent to all that is put forth by the 

for Christianity. 371 

Church as truth of revelation. These are the men v/ho, 
if they could, would unite old ideas with new ; who can- 
not give up tradition, yet are loth to shut the door to 
progress ; who look for a more exact adjustment of faith 
with reason than has hitherto been attained ; who love 
the conclusions of Catholic theology better than the 
proofs, and the methods of modern thought better than 
its results ; and who, in the present wide unsettlement 
of religious opinion, believe indeed, or wish to believe, 
Scripture and orthodox doctrine, taken as a whole, and 
cannot get themselves to avow any deliberate dissent 
from any part of either, but still, not knowing how to 
defend their belief with logical exactness, or at least 
feeling that there are large unsatisfied objections lying 
against parts of it, or having misgivings lest there should 
be such, acquiesce in what is called a practical belief, 
that is, accept revealed truths, only because such accept- 
ance of them is the safest course, because they are pro- 
bable, and because to hold them in consequence is a duty, 
not as if they felt absolutely certain, though they will 
not allow themselves to be actually in doubt. Such is 
about the description to be given of them as a class ; 
though, as we have said, they so materially differ from 
each other, that no general account of them will apply 
strictly to any individual in their body. 

Now, it is to this large class which we have been de- 
scribing that such a work as that before us, in spite of the 
serious errors which they will not be slow to recognize 
in it, comes as a friend in need. They do not stumble 
at the author's inconsistencies or shortcomings ; they 
are arrested by his professed purpose, and are profoundly 
moved by his successful hits (as they may be called) 
towards fulfilling it. Remarks on the Gospel history, 
such as Paley's, they feel to be casual and superficiaj ; 

372 An internal Argument 

such as Rousseau's to be vague and declamatory ; they 
wish to justify with their intellect all that they believe 
with their heart ; they cannot separate their ideas o\ 
religion from its revealed Object ; but they have an 
aching dissatisfaction within them, that they should be 
apprehending Him so feebly, when they should fain (as 
it were) see and touch Him as well as hear. When, then, 
they have logical grounds presented to them for holding 
that the recorded picture of our Lord is its own evidence, 
that it carries with it its own reality and authority, that 
His " revelatio " is " revelata " in the very act of being 
a " revelatio," it is as if He Himself said to them, as He 
once said to His disciples, " It is I, be not afraid ; " and 
the clouds at once clear off, and the waters subside, and 
the land is gained for which they are looking out. 

The author before us, then, has the merit of promising 
what, if he could fulfil it, would entitle him to the gra- 
titude of thousands. We do not say, we are very far 
from thinking that he has actually accomplished so high 
an enterprise, though he seems to be ambitious enough 
to hope that he has not come far short of it. He some- 
where calls his book a treatise ; he would have done 
better to call it an essay ; nor need he have been ashamed 
of a word which Locke has used in his work on the Hu- 
man Understanding. Before concluding, we shall take 
occasion to express our serious sense, how very much his 
execution falls below his purpose ; but certainly it is a 
great purpose which he sets before him, and for that he 
is to be praised. And there is at least this singular merit 
in his performance, as he has given it to the public, that 
he is clear-sighted and fair enough to view our Lord's 
work in its true light, as including in it the establishment 
of a visible Kingdom or Church. In proportion, then, as 
we shall presently find it our duty to pass some severe 

for Christianity. 373 

remarks upon his Volume, as it comes before us, so do we 
feel bound, before doing so, to give some specimens of it 
in that point of view in which we consider it really to 
subserve the cause of Revealed Truth. And in the sketch 
which we are now about to give of the first steps of his 
investigation, we must not be understood to make him 
responsible for the language in which we shall exhibi 
them to our readers, and which will unavoidably involve 
our own corrections of his argument, and our own 


Among a people, then, accustomed by the most sacred 
traditions of their Religion to a belief in the appearance, 
from time to time, of divine messengers for their instruc- 
tion and reformation, and to the expectation of One such 
messenger still to come, the last and greatest of all, who 
should also be their king and deliverer as well as their 
teacher, suddenly is found, after a long break in the suc- 
cession, and a period of national degradation, a prophet 
of the old stamp, in one of the deserts of the country 
— John, the son of Zachary. He announces the pro- 
mised kingdom as close at hand, calls his countrymen 
to repentance, and institutes a rite symbolical of it. 
The people seem disposed to take him for the destined 
Saviour ; but, instead, he points out to them a private 
person in the crowd which is flocking about him ; and 
henceforth the interest which his own preaching has ex- 
cited centres in that Other. Thus our Lord is introduced 
to the notice of His countrymen. 

Thus brought before the world. He opens His mission. 
What is the first impression it makes upon us } Admi- 
ration of its singular simplicity and directness, both as to 
object and work. Such of course ought to be its charac- 

374 An internal Argument 

ter, if it was to be the fulfilment of the ancient, ions:- 
expected promise ; and such it was, as our Lord pro- 
claimed it. Other men, who do a work, do not at once 
set about it as their object ; they make several failures ; 
they are led on to it by circumstances ; they miscalcu- 
late their powers ; or they are drifted from the first in a 
different direction from that which they had chosen ; they 
do most where they are expected to do least. But our 
Lord said and did. " He formed one plan and executed 
it" (p. 1 8). 

In the next place, what was that plan ? Let us con- 
sider the force of the words in which, as the Baptist before 
Him, He introduced His ministry : " The kingdom of 
God is at hand." What was meant by the kingdom of 
God .'' " The conception was no new one, but familiar to 
every Jew" (p. 19). At the first formation of the nation 
and state of the Israelites, the Almighty had been their 
King ; when a line of earthly kings was introduced, then 
God spoke by the prophets. The existence of the 
theocracy was the very constitution and boast of Israel, 
as limited monarchy, liberty, and equality are the boast 
respectively of certain modem nations. Moreover, the 
Gospel proclamation ran, " " Pcenitentiam agite ; for the 
kingdom of heaven is at hand : " here again was another 
and recognized token of a theophany ; for the mission of 
a prophet, as we have said above, was commonly a call to 
reformation and expiation of sin. 

A divine mission, then, was a falling back upon the 
original covenant between God and His people ; but 
again, while it was an event of old and familiar occur- 
rence, it ever had carried with it in its past instances 
something new in connexion with the circumstances 
under which it took place. The prophets were ac- 
customed to give interpretations, or to introduce modifi- 

for Christianity. 375 

cations of the letter of the Law, to add to its conditions 
and to enlarge its application. It was to be expected, 
then, that now, when the new Prophet to whom the 
Baptist pointed, opened His commission, He too, in like 
manner, would be found to be engaged in a restoration, 
but in a restoration which should be a religious advance ; 
and that the more, if He really was the special, final 
Prophet of the theocracy, to whom all former prophets 
had looked forward, and in whom their long and august 
line was to be summed up and perfected. In proportion 
as His work was to be more signal, so would His new 
revelations be wider and more wonderful. 

Did our Lord fulfil these expectations } Yes ; there 
was this peculiarity in His mission, that He came, not 
only as one of the prophets in the kingdom of God, but 
as the King Himself of that kingdom. Thus His mission 
involves the most exact return to the original polity of 
Israel, which the appointment of Saul had disarranged, 
while it recognizes also the line of Prophets, and infuses 
a new spirit into the Law. Throughout His ministry our 
Lord claimed and received the title of King, which no 
prophet ever had done before. On His birth, the wise 
men came to worship "the King of the Jews." "Thou 
art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel," cried 
Nathaniel after His baptism ; and on His cross the 
charge recorded against Him was that He professed to 
be " King of the Jews." " During His whole public life," 
says the author, " He is distinguished from the other 
prominent characters of Jewish history by His unbounded 
personal pretensions. He claims expressly the character 
of that Divine Messiah for which the ancient prophets had 
directed the nation to look." — P, 25. 

He is, then, a King, as well as a Prophet ; but is He 
as one of the old heroic kings, David or Solomon ? Had 

376 A7i internal A rguinent 

such been His pretension, He had not, in His own words, 
"discerned the signs of the times." It would have been 
a false step in Him, into which other would-be champions 
of Israel, before and after Him, actually fell, and in 
consequence failed. But here this young Prophet is 
from the first distinct, decided, and original. His con- 
temporaries, indeed, the wisest, the most experienced, 
were wedded to the notion of a revival of the barbaric 
kingdom. "Their heads were full of the languid dreams 
of commentators, the unpracticable pedantries of men 
who live in the past" (p. 27). But He gave to the old 
prophetic promises an interpretation which they could 
undeniably bear, but which they did not immediately 
suggest ; which we can maintain to be true, while we 
can deny it to be imperative. He had His own prompt, 
definite conception of the restored theocracy ; it was 
His own, and not another's ; it was suited to the new 
age ; it was triumphantly carried out in the event. 


In what, then, did He consider His royalty to con- 
sist .' First, what was it not } It did not consist in the 
ordinary functions of royalty ; it did not prevent His 
payment of tribute to Caesar ; it did not make Him a 
judge in questions of criminal or of civil law, in a ques- 
tion of adultery, or in the adjudication of an inheritance ; 
nor did it give Him the command of armies. Then 
perhaps, after all, it was but a figurative royalty, as when 
the Eridanus is called "fluviorum rex," or Aristotle 
" the prince of philosophers." No ; it was not a figura- 
tive royalty either. To call oneself a king, without 
being one, is playing with edged tools — as in the story 
of the innkeeper's son, who was put to death for calling 
himself "heir to the crown." Christ certainly knew 

for Christianity. 377 

what He was saying. "He had provoked the accusation 
of rebellion against the Roman government : He must 
have known that the language He used would be inter- 
preted so. Was there then nothing substantial in the 
royalty He claimed } Did He die for a metaphor } " 
(p. 28.) He meant what He said, and therefore His 
kingdom was literal and real ; it was visible ; but what 
were its visible prerogatives, if they were not those in 
which earthly royalty commonly consists .'* In truth, He 
passed by the lesser powers of royalty to claim the 
higher. He claimed certain divine and transcendent 
functions of the original theocracy, which had been in 
abeyance since that theocracy had been infringed, which 
even to David had not been delegated, which had never 
been exercised except by the Almighty, God had 
created, first the people, next the state, which He deigned 
to govern. " The origin of other nations is lost in anti- 
quity " (p. 33) ; but "this people," runs the sacred word, 
"have I formed for Myself" And " He who first called 
the nation did for it the second work of a king : He 
gave it a law " (p. 34). Now it is very striking to observe 
that these two incommunicable attributes of divine 
royalty, as exemplified in the history of the Israelites, 
are the very two which our Lord assumed. He was the 
Maker and the Lawgiver of His subjects. He said in 
the commencement of His ministry, ''Follow Me ; " and 
He added, and I will make you" — you in turn — "fishers 
of men." And the next we read of Him is, that His 
disciples came to Him on the Mount, and He opened 
His mouth and taught them. And so again, at the end 
of it, " Go ye, make disciples of all nations, /^rtr/z/V/^them." 
"Thus the very works for which the [Jewish] nation 
chiefly hymned their Jehovah, He undertook in His 
name to do. He undertook to be the Father of an ever- 

37^ ^'^^ internal Argument 

lasting state, and the Legislator of a world-wide society" 
(p. 36) ; that is, showing Himself, according to the 
prophetic announcement, to be "Adniirabilis, consiliariiis, 
pater futuri scectdi, pi'inceps pacis!' 

To these two claims He added a third : first. He chooses 
the subjects of His kingdom ; next, He gives them a 
law; but thirdly, He judges them — ^judges them in a 
far truer and fuller sense than in the old kingdom even 
the Almighty judged His people. The God of Israel 
ordained national rewards and punishments for national 
obedience or transgression ; He did not judge His 
subjects one by one ; but our Lord takes upon Himself 
the supreme and final judgment of every one of His 
subjects, not to speak of the whole human race (though, 
from the nature of the case, this function cannot belong 
to His present visible kingdom). " He considered, in 
short, heaven and hell to be in His hand " (p. 40). 

We shall mention one further function of the new King 
and His new kingdom : its benefits are even bound up 
with the maintenance of this law of political unity. "To 
organize a society, and to bind the members of it together 
by the closest ties, were the business of His life. For 
this reason it was that He called men away from their 
homes, imposed upon some a wandering life, upon others 
the sacrifice of their property, and endeavoured by all 
means to divorce them from their former connexions, 
in order that they might find a new home in the Church. 
For this reason He instituted a solemn initiation, and 
for this reason He refused absolutely to any one a dis- 
pensation from it. For this reason, too . . . He esta- 
blished a common feast, which was through all ages to 
remind Christians of their indissoluble union " (p. 92). 
But cui bono is a visible kingdom, when the great end of 
our Lord's ministry is moral advancement and prepara- 

for Christianity. 379 

tion for a future state ? It is easy to understand, for 
instance, how a sermon may benefit, or personal example, 
or religious friends, or household piety. We can learn 
to imitate a saint or a martyr, we can cherish a lesson, 
we can study a treatise, we can obey a rule ; but what 
is the definite advantage to a preacher or a moralist of 
an external organization, of a visible kingdom ? Yet 
Christ says, " Seek y^ first the kingdom of God," as well 
as " His justice." Socrates wished to improve man, but 
he laid no stress on their acting in concert in order to 
secure that improvement; on the contrary, the Christian 
law is political, as certainly as it is moral. 

Why is this ? It arises out of the intimate relation 
between Him and His subjects, which, in bringing them 
all to Him as their common Father, necessarily brings 
them to each other. Our Lord says, " Where two or 
three are gathered together in My name, I am in the 
midst of them." Fellowship between His followers is 
made a distinct object and duty, because it is a means, 
according to the provisions of His system, by which in 
some special way they are brought near to Him. This 
is declared, still more strikingly than in the text we have 
just quoted, in the parable of the Vine and its Branches, 
and in that (if it is to be called a parable) of the Bread 
of Life. The almighty King of Israel was ever, indeed, 
invisibly present in the glory above the Ark, but He did 
not manifest Himself there or anywhere else as a present 
cause of spiritual strength to His people ; but the new 
King is not only ever present, but to every one of His 
subjects individually is He a first element and perennial 
source of life. He is not only the head of His kingdom, 
but also its animating principle and its centre of power. 
The author whom we are reviewing does not quite reach 
the great doctrine here suggested, but he goes near it 

380 An internal Argument 

in the following passage : " Some men have appeared 
who have been 'as levers to uplift the earth and roll it in 
another course.' Homer by creating literature, Socrates 
by creating science, Caesar by carrying civilization inland 
from the shores of the Mediterranean, Newton by starting 
science upon a career of steady progress, may be said to 
have attained this eminence. But these men gave a single 
impact like that which is conceived to have first set the 
planets in motion. Christ claims to be a perpetual 
attractive power, like the sun, which determines their 
orbit. They contributed to men some discovery, and 
passed away ; Christ's discovery is Himself To hu- 
manity struggling with its passions and its destiny He 
says. Cling to Me ; — cling ever closer to Me. If we 
believe St. John, He represented Himself as the Light 
of the world, as the Shepherd of the souls of men, as the 
Way to immortality, as the Vine or Life-tree of hu- 
manity" (p. 177). He ends this beautiful passage, of 
which we have quoted as much as our limits allow, by 
saying that "He instructed His followers to hope for life 
from feeding on His Body and Blood." 


O si sic omnia ! Is it not hard, that, after following 
with pleasure a train of thought so calculated to warm 
all Christian hearts, and to create in them both admira- 
tion and sympathy for the writer, we must end our notice 
of him in a different tone, and express as much dissent 
from him and as serious blame of him as we have hither- 
to been showing satisfaction with his object, his inten- 
tion, and the general outline of his argument .-• But so it 
is. In what remains to be said we are obliged to speak 
of his work in terms so sharp that they may seem to be 
out of keeping with what has gone before. With what- 

for Christianity. 381 

ever abruptness, we must suddenly shift the scene, and 
manifest our disapprobation of portions of his book as 
plainly as we have shown an interest in it. We have 
praised it in various points of view. It has stirred the 
hearts of many ; it has recognized a need, and gone in 
the right direction for supplying it. It serves as a token, 
and a hopeful token, of what is going on in the minds of 
numbers of men external to the Church. It is so far a 
good book, and, we trust, will work for good. Especially 
as we have seen, is it interesting to the Catholic, as ac- 
knowledging the visible Church to be our Lord's own 
creation, as the direct fruit of His teaching, and the 
destined instrument of His purposes. We do not know 
how to speak in an unfriendly tone of an author who has 
done so much as this ; but at the same time, when we 
come to examine his argument in its details, and study 
his chapters one by one, we find, in spite of, and 
mixed up with, what is true and original, and even put- 
ting aside his patent theological errors, so much bad logic, 
so much of rash and gratuitous assumption, so much of 
half-digested thought, that we are obliged to conclude 
that it would have been much wiser in him, instead of 
publishing what he seems to confess, or rather to pro- 
claim, to be the jottings of his first researches upon 
sacred territory, to have waited till he had carefully tra- 
versed and surveyed and mapped the whole of it. We 
now proceed to give a few instances of the faults of which 
we complain. 

His opening remarks will serve as an illustration. In 
p. 41 he says, "We have not rested upon single passages, 
nor drawn from the fottrth Gospel" This, we suppose, 
must be his reason for ignoring the passage in Luke 
ii. 49 : " Did you not know that I must be about My 
Father's business ? " for he directly contradicts it, by 

382 An internal Argume7it 

gratuitously imagining that our Lord came for St John's 
baptism with the same intention as the penitents around 
Him ; and that, in spite of His own words, which we 
suppose are to be taken as another "single passage," 
"So it becometh us to fulfil all justice" (Matt. iii. 15). 
It must be on this principle of ignoring single passages 
such as these, even though they admit of combination, 
that he goes on to say of our Lord, that " in the agita- 
tion of mind caused by His baptism, and by the Baptist's 
designation of Him as the future Prophet, He retired 
into the wilderness," and there " He matured the plan of 
action which we see Hi.n executing from the moment of 
His return into society " (p, 9) ; and that not till then 
was He "conscious of miraculous power " (p. 12). This 
neglect of the sacred text, we repeat, must be allowed 
him, we suppose, under cover of his acting out his rule 
of abstaining from single passages and from the fourth 
Gospel. Let us allow it ; but at least he ought to 
adduce passages, single or many, for what he actually 
does assert. He must not be allowed arbitrarily to add 
to the history, as well as cautiously to take from it. 
Where, then, we ask, did he learn that our Lord's baptism 
caused Him " agitation of mind," that He " matured 
His plan of action in the wilderness," and that He then 
first was " conscious of miraculous power " .<* 

But again : it seems he is not to refer to " single pas- 
sages or the fourth Gospel ; " yet, wonderful to say, he 
actually does open his formal discussion of the sacred 
history by referring to a passage from that very Gospel, 
— nay, to a particular text, which is not to be called 
" single," only because it is not so much as a single text, 
but an unfair half text, and half a text such, that, had 
he taken the whole of it, he would have been obliged to 
admit that the part which he puts aside just runs counter 

for Christianity. 3 S3 

to his interpretation of the part which he recognizes. 
The words are these, as they stand in the Protestant 
version : " Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away 
the sin of the world." Now, it is impossible to deny 
that " which taketh away," etc., fixes and limits the sense 
of " the Lamb of God ; " but our author notices the 
latter half of the sentence, only in order to put aside 
the light which it throws upon the former half; and 
instead of the Baptist's own interpretation of the title 
which he gives to our Lord, he substitutes another, 
radically different, which he selects for himself out of 
one of the Psalms. He explains " the Lamb " by the 
well-known image, which represents the Almighty as a 
shepherd and His earthly servants as sheep — innocent, 
safe, and happy under His protection. " The Baptist's 
opinion of Christ's character, then," he says, " is summed 
up for us in the title he gives Him — the Lamb of God, 
taking away the sins of the world. There seems to be, 
in the last part of this description, an allusion to the 
usages of the Jewish sacrificial system ; and, in order 
to explain it fully, it would be necessary to anticipate 
much which will come more conveniently later in this 
treatise. But when we remember that the Baptist's 
mind was doubtless full of imagery drawn from the Old 
Testament, and that the conception of a lamb of God 
makes the subject of one of the most striking of the 
Psalms, we shall pereeive what he mea?it to convey by this 
phrase" (pp. 5, 6). This is like saying, to take a parallel 
instance, "Isaiah declares, 'Mine eyes have seen the King, 
the Lord of hosts ;' but, considering that doubtless the 
prophet was well acquainted with the first and second 
books of Samuel, and that Saul, David, and Solomon 
are the three great kings there represented, we shall 
easily perceive that, by ' seeing the King,' he meant to 

384 An internal Argument 

say that he saw Uzziah, king of Judah, in the last year 
of whose reign he had the vision. As to the phrase 
' the Lord of hosts/ which seems to refer to the Almighty, 
we will consider its meaning by-and-by : " — but, in truth, 
it is difficult to invent a paralogism, in its gratuitous 
inconsecutiveness parallel to his own, 


We must own that, with every wish to be fair to this 
author, we never recovered from the perplexity of mind 
winch this passage, in the very threshold of his book, 
inflicted on us. It needed not the various passages, 
constructed on the same argumentative model, which 
follow it in his work, to prove to us that he was not 
only an ificognito, but an enigma. " Ergo," is the symbol 
of the logician : — what is the scientific method of a writei 
whose symbols, profusely scattered through his pages 
are " probably," " it must be," " doubtless," " on this 
hypothesis," " we may suppose," and " it is natural to 
think," and that at the very time that he pointedly 
discards the comments of school theologians ? Is it 
possible that he can mean us to set aside, in his own 
favour, the glosses of all that went before him, and to ex- 
change our old lamps for his new ones ? Men have been 
at fault, when trying to determine whether he was an 
orthodox believer on his road to liberalism, or a Hberal 
on his road to orthodoxy : this doubtless may be to 
some a perplexity ; but our own difficulty is, whether 
he comes to us as an investigator or rather as a prophet, 
as one unequal or superior to the art of reasoning. 
Undoubtedly he is an able man ; but what can he 
possibly mean by startling us with such eccentricities 
of argumentation as are quite familiar with him ? 
Addison somewhere bids his readers bear in mind, 

for Christianity. 3^5 

that if he is ever especially dull, he always has a 
special reason for being so ; and it is difficult to 
reconcile one's imagination to the supposition that this 
anonymous writer, with so much religious thought as 
he certainly evidences, is without some recondite reason 
for seeming so inconsequent, and does not move by some 
deep subterraneous process of investigation, which, if 
once brought to light, would clear him of the imputation 
of castle-building. 

There is always a danger of misconceiving an author 
who has no antecedents by which we may measure him. 
Taking his work as it lies, we can but wish that he had 
kept his imagination under control ; and that he had 
more of the hard head of a lawyer, and the patience of 
a philosopher. He writes like a man who cannot keep 
from telling the world his first thoughts, especially if 
they are clever or graceful ; he has come for the first 
time upon a strange world, and his remarks upon it are 
too often obvious rather than striking, and crude rather 
than fresh. What can be more paradoxical than to 
interpret our Lord's words to Nicodemus, "Unless a man 
be born again," etc., of the necessity of external reli- 
gion, and as a lesson to him to profess his faith openly 
and not to visit Him in secret ? (p. 86), What can be 
more pretentious, not to say vulgar, than his paraphrase 
of St. John's passage about the woman taken in adul- 
tery ? " In His burning embarrassment and confusion," 
he says, "He stooped down so as to hide His face. . . . 
They had a glimpse perhaps of the glowing blush upon 
His face," etc. (p. 104.) 

We should be very sorry to use a severe word con- 
cerning an honest inquirer after truth, as we believe this 
anonymous writer to be; but we will confess that 
Catholics, kindly as they may wish to feel towards him, 

* ♦ oc 

386 An internal Argument 

are scarcely even able, from their very position, to give 
his work the enthusiastic reception which it has received 
from some other critics. The reason is plain ; those alone 
can speak of it from a full heart, who feel a need, and 
recognize in it a supply of that need. We are not in the 
number of such ; for they who have found, have no need 
to seek. Far be it from us to use language savouring of 
the leaven of the Pharisees. We are not assuming a 
high place, because we thus speak, or boasting of our 
security. Catholics are both deeper and shallower than 
Protestants ; but in neither case have they any call for 
a treatise such as this Ecce Homo. If they live to the 
world and the flesh, then the faith which they profess, 
though it is true and distinct, is dead; and their certainty 
about religious truth, however firm and unclouded, is but 
shallow in its character, and flippant in its manifestations. 
And in proportion as they are worldly and sensual, will 
they be flippant and shallow.* But their faith is as inde- 
lible as the pigment which colours the skin, even though 
it is skin-deep. This class of Catholics is not likely to 
take interest in a pictorial Ecce Homo. On the other 
hand, where the heart is alive with divine love, faith is as 
deep as it is vigorous and joyous ; and, as far as Catho- 
lics are in this condition, they will feel no drawing to- 
wards a work which is after all but an arbitrary and 
unsatisfactory dissection of the Object of their devotion. 
Faith, be it deep or shallow, does not need Evidences. 
That individual Catholics may be harassed with doubts, 
particularly in a day like this, we are not denying ; but, 
viewed as a body. Catholics, from their religious condi- 
tion, are either too deep or too shallow to suff"er from 
those elementary difficulties, or that distress of mind, 

• [On this whole subject, vide "Difficulties felt by Anglicans," etc., 
Lecture IX.] 

for Christianity. • 387 

and need of argument, which serious Protestants so often 

We confess, then, as Catholics, to some unavoidable 
absence of cordial feeling in following the remarks of 
this author, though not to any want of real sympathy ; 
and we seem to be justified in our indisposition by his 
manifest want of sympathy with us. If we feel distant 
towards him, his own language about Catholicity, and 
(what may be called) old Christianity, seems to show 
that that distance is one of fact, one of mental position, 
not any fault in ourselves. Is it not undeniable, that the 
very life of personal religion among Catholics lies in a 
knowledge of the Gospels } It is the character and con- 
duct of our Lord, His words, His deeds. His sufferings, 
His work, which are the very food of our devotion and 
rule of our life. "Behold the Man," which this author 
feels to be an object novel enough to write a book about, 
has been the contemplation of Catholics from the first 
age when St. Paul said, " The life that I now live in the 
flesh, I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved 
me, and delivered Himself for me." As the Psalms 
have ever been the manual of our prayer, so have the 
Gospels been the subject-matter of our meditation. In 
these latter times especially, since St. Ignatius, they have 
been divided into portions, and arranged in a scientific 
order, not unlike that which the Psalms have received 
in the Breviary. To contemplate our Lord in His person 
and His history is with us the exercise of every retreat, 
and the devotion of every morning. All this is cer- 
tainly simple matter of fact; but the writer we are re- 
viewing lives and thinks at so great a distance from us, 
as not to be cognizant of what is so patent and so noto- 
rious a truth. He seems to imagine that the faith of 
a Catholic is the mere profession of a formula. He 

388 An internal Argument 

deems ft important to disclaim, in the outset of his 
work, all reference to the theology of the Church. He 
.ischews with much precision, as something almost 
profane, the dogmatism of former ages. He wishes "to 
trace " our Lord's " biography from point to point, and 
accept those conclusions — not which Church doctors or 
even Apostles have sealed with their authority — but 
which the facts themselves, critically weighed, appear to 
warrant." — (Preface.) Now, what Catholics, what Church 
doctors, as well as Apostles, have ever lived on, is not any 
number of theological canons or decrees, but, we repeat, 
the Christ Himself, as He is represented in concrete 
existence in the Gospels.* Theological determinations 
about our Lord are far more of the nature of landmarks 
or buoys to guide a discursive mind in its reasonings, 
than to assist a devotional mind in its worship. Com- 
mon sense, for instance, tells us what is meant by the 
words, " My Lord and my God ; " and a religious man, 
upon his knees, requires no commentator ; but against 
irreligious speculators, Arius or Nestorius, a denunciation 
has been passed, in Ecumenical Council, when " science 
falsely so-called " encroached upon devotion. Has not 
this been insisted on by all dogmatic Christians over and 
over again ? Is it not a representation as absolutely 
true as it is trite ? We had fancied that Protestants 
generally allowed the touching beauty of CathoHc hymns 
and meditations ; and after all is there not That in all 
Catholic churches which goes beyond any written devo- 
tion, whatever its force or its pathos > Do we not be- 
lieve in a Presence in the sacred Tabernacle, not as a 
form of words, or as a notion, but as an Object as real 
as we are real ? And if before that Presence we need 
neither profession of faith nor even manual of devotion, 

* \yide " Essay on Assent," ch. iv. and v.] 

for Christianity. 389 

what appetite can we have for the teaching of a writer 
who not only exalts his first thoughts about our Lord 
into professional lectures, but implies that the Catholic 
Church has never known how to point Him out to her 
children ? 


It may be objected, that we are making too much 
of so accidental a slight as is contained in his allusion to 
" Church doctors," especially as he mentions Apostles in 
connexion with them ; but it would be affectation not 
to recognize in other places of his book an undercurrent 
of antagonism to us, of which the passage already quoted 
is but a first indication. Of course he has quite as much 
right as another to take up an anti-Catholic position, if 
he will ; but we understand him to be putting forth an 
investigation, not a polemical argument: and if, instead of 
keeping his eyes directed towards his own proper subject, 
he looks to the right or left, hitting at those who view 
things differently from himself, he is damaging the ethical 
force of a composition which claims to be, and mainly is, 
a serious and manly search after religious truth. Why 
cannot he let us alone .-' Of course he cannot avoid see- 
ing that the lines of his own investigation diverge from 
those drawn by others ; but he will have enough to do 
in defending himself, without making others the object 
of his attack. He is virtually opposing Voltaire, Strauss, 
Renan, Calvin, Wesley, Chalmers, Erskine, and a host of 
other writers, but he does not denounce tJieni ; why then 
does he single out, misrepresent, and anathematize a 
a main principle of Catholic orthodoxy. It is as if he 
could not keep his hand off us, when we crossed his path. 
We are alluding to the following magisterial passage : 

" If He (our Lord) meant anything by His constant 

390 An internal Argument 

denunciation of hypocrites, there is nothing which He 
could have visited with sterner censure than that sJiort cut 
to belief which many persons take, when, overwhelmed 
with difficulties which beset their minds, and afraid of 
damnation, they stiddenly resolve to strive no longer, but, 
giving their minds a holiday, to rest content with saying 
that they believe, and acting as if they did. A melan- 
choly end of Christianity indeed ! Can there be such a 
disfranchised pauper class among the citizens of the New 
Jerusalem ? " (p. 79). 

He adds shortly afterwards : 

"Assuredly, those who represent Christ as presenting 
to man an abtruse theology, and saying to them peremp- 
torily, ' Believe or be damned,' have the coarsest con- 
ception of the Saviour of the world " (p. 80). 

Thus he delivers himself: Believe or be damned is 
so detestable a doctrine, that if any man denies that it is 
detestable, I pronounce him to be a hypocrite; to be with- 
out any true knowledge of the Saviour of the world ; to 
be the object of His sternest censure ; and to have no part 
or place in the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, the eter- 
nal Heaven above. — Pretty well for a virtuous hater of 
dogmatism ! We hope we shall show less dictatorial 
arrogance than his in the answer which we proceed to 
make to him. 

Whether or not there are persons such as he de- 
scribes, Catholics, or, Protestant converts to Catholicism, 
— men who profess a faith which they do not believe, 
under the notion that they shall be eternally damned if 
they do not profess it without believing, — we really do 
not know — we never met with such ; but since facts do 
not concern us here so much as principles, let us, for 
argument's sake, grant that there are such men. Our 
author believes they are not only " many," but enough 

for Christiajiity. 391 

to form a "class;" and he considers that they act in 
this preposterous manner under the sanction, and in ac- 
cordance with the teaching, of the religious bodies to 
which they belong. Especially there is a marked allu- 
sion in his words to the Athanasian Creed and the 
Catholic Church. Now we answer him thus ; 

It is his charge against the teachers of dogma that 
they impose on men as a duty, instead of believing, 
to " act as if they did " believe : — now in fact this is the 
very kind of profession which, if it is all that a candidate 
has to offer, absolutely shuts him out from admission 
into Catholic comm.union. We suppose, that by belief 
of a thing this writer understands an inward conviction of 
its truth ; — this being supposed, we plainly say that no 
priest is at liberty to receive a man into the Church who 
has not a real internal belief, and cannot say from his 
heart, that the things taught by the Church are true. 
On the other hand, as we have said above, it is the very 
characteristic of the profession of faith made by numbers 
of educated Protestants, and it is the utmost extent to 
which they are able to go in believing, to hold, not that 
Christian doctrine is certainly true, but that it has such 
a semblance of truth, it has such considerable marks of 
probability upon it, that it is their duty to accept and 
act upon it as if it were true beyond all question or 
doubt : and they justify themselves, and with much 
reason, by the authority of Bishop Butler. Undoubtedly, 
a religious man will be led to go as far as this, if he 
cannot go farther ; but unless he can go farther, he is no 
catechumen of the Catholic Church. We wish all men to 
believe that her creed is true ; but till they do so believe, 
we do not wish, we have no permission, to make them 
her members. Such a faith as this author speaks of to 
condemn — (our books call it ^' practical CQx\X\xii<\Q. ") — does 

A71 i7iternal Argument 


not rise to the level of the sine qua non, which is the con- 
dition prescribed for becoming a Catholic. Unless a 
a convert so believes that he can sincerely say, " After 
all, in spite of all difficulties, objections, obscurities, 
mysteries, the creed of the Church undoubtedly comes 
from God, and is true, because He who gave it is the 
Truth," such a man, though he be outwardly received 
into her fold, will receive no grace from the sacraments, 
no sanctification in baptism, no pardon in penance, no life 
in communion. We are more consistently dogmatic than 
this author imagines ; we do not enforce a principle 
by halves ; if our doctrine is true, it must be received as 
such ; if a man cannot so receive it, he must wait till 
he can. It would be better, indeed, if he now believed ; 
but since he does not as yet, to wait is the best he can 
do under the circumstances. If we said anything else 
than this, certainly we should be, as the author thinks 
we are, encouraging hypocrisy. Nor let him turn round 
on us and say that by thus proceeding we are laying a 
burden on souls, and blocking up the entrance into that 
fold which was intended for all men, by imposing hard 
conditions on candidates for admission ; for, as we shall 
now show, we have already implied a great principle, 
which is an answer to this objection, and which the 
Gospels exhibit and sanction, but which he absolutely 


Let us avail ourselves of his own quotation. The 
Baptist said, " Behold the Lamb of God." Again he 
says, " This is the Son of God." " Two of his disciples 
heard him speak, and they followed Jesus." They be- 
lieved John to be " a man sent from God " to teach 
them, and therefore they believed his word to be true. 

for Christia?iiiy. 393 

We suppose it was not hypocrisy in them to beh'eve in 
John's word; rather they would have been guilty of gross 
inconsistency or hypocrisy, had they professed to be- 
lieve that he was a divine messenger, and yet had refused 
to take his word concerning the Stranger whom he pointed 
out to their veneration. It would have been "saying 
that they believed," and not " acting as if they did ; " 
which at least is not better than saying and acting. 
Now was not the announcement which John made to 
them " a short cut to belief" 1 and what the harm of it .-' 
They beUeved that our Lord was the promised Prophet, 
without making direct inquiry about Him, without a new 
inquiry, on the ground of a previous inquiry into the 
claims of John himself to be accounted a messenger 
from God. They had already accepted it as truth that 
John was a prophet ; but again, what a prophet said 
must be true ; else he would not be a prophet ; now, 
John said that our Lord was the Lamb of God ; this, 
then, certainly was a sacred truth. 

Now it might happen, that they knew exactly and for 
certain what the Baptist meant in calling our Lord " a 
Lamb ; " in that case they would believe Him to be that 
which they knew the figurative word meant, as used by 
the Baptist. But, as our author reminds us, the word has 
different senses ; and though the Baptist explained his 
own sense of it on the first occasion of using it, by add- 
ing " that taketh away the sin of the world," yet when 
he spoke to the two disciples he did not thus explain it. 
Now let us suppose that they went off, taking the word 
each in his own sense, the one understanding by it a 
sacrificial lamb, the other a lamb of the fold ; and let us 
suppose that, as they were on their way to our Lord's 
home, they became aware of this difference between their 
several impressions, and disputed with each other which 

394 -^^^ internal Argument 

was the right interpretation. It is clear that they would 
agree so far as this, viz., that, in saying that the proposi- 
tion was true, they meant that it was true in that sense 
in which the Baptist spoke it, whatever that was ; more- 
over, if it be worth noticing, they did after all even agree, 
in some vague way, about the meaning of the word, 
understanding that it denoted some high characteristic, 
or office, or ministry. Anyhow, it was absolutely true, 
they would say, that our Lord was a Lamb, whatever it 
meant ; the word conveyed a great and momentous fact, 
and if they did not know what that fact was, the Baptist 
did, and they would accept it in its one right sense, as 
soon as he or our Lord told them what that was. 

Again, as to that other title which the Baptist gave 
our Lord, " the Son of God," it admitted of half a dozen 
meanings. Wisdom was " the only begotten ; " the 
Angels were the sons of God ; Adam was a son of God ; 
the descendants of Seth were sons of God ; Solomon was 
a son of God ; and so is " the just man." In which of 
these senses, or in what sense, was our Lord the Son of 
God ? St. Peter, as the after-history shows us, knew, but 
there were those who did not know ; the centurion who 
attended the crucifixion did not know, and yet he con- 
fessed that our Lord was the Son of God. He knew 
that our Lord had been condemned by the Jews for 
calling Himself the Son of God, and therefore he cried 
out, on seeing the miracles which attended his death, 
" Indeed this was the Son of God." His words evidently 
imply, " I do not know precisely what He meant by so 
calling Himself; but this I do know, — what He said He 
was, that He is; whatever He meant, I believe Him; I 
believe that His word about Himself is true, though I 
cannot prove it to be so, though I do not even understand 
it ; I believe His word, for I believe Him" 

for Christianity. 395 

Now to return to the accusation which has led to these 
remarks. Our author says that certain persons are 
hypocrites, because they " take a short cut to behef, 
suddenly resolving to strive no longer, but to rest con- 
tent with saying they believe." Does he mean by " a 
short cut," believing on the word of another ? As far as 
we see, he can mean nothing else ; yet how can he really 
mean this and mean to blame this, with the Gospels before 
him ? He cannot mean it, if he pays any deference to 
the Gospels, because the very staple of the sacred narra- 
tive, from beginning to end, is a call on all men to believe 
what is not proved, not plain, to them, on the warrant of 
divine messengers ; because the very form of our Lord's 
teaching is to substitute authority for argument ; because 
the very principle of His grave earnestness, the very key 
to His regenerative mission, is the intimate connexion 
of faith with salvation. Faith is not simply trust in His 
legislation, as the writer says ; it is definitely trust in 
His word, whether that word be about heavenly things 
or earthly ; whether it is spoken by His own mouth, 
or through His ministers. The Angel who announced 
the Baptist's birth, said, " Thou shalt be dumb, because 
thou believest not my words." The Baptist's mother 
said of Mary, " Blessed is she that believed." The Bap- 
tist himself said, " He that beUeveth on the Son hath 
everlasting life ; and he that believeth not the Son shall 
not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." 
Our Lord, in turn said to Nicodemus, " We speak 
that we do know, and ye receive not our witness ; 
he that believeth not is condemned already, because he 
hath not believed in the Name of the Only-begotten Son 
of God." To the Jews, " He that heareth My word, and 
believeth on Him that sent Me, shall not come into con- 
demnation." To the Capharnaites, •' He that believeth 

396 An internal Argume7it 

on Me hath everlasting life." To St. Thomas, " Blessed 
are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." 
And to the Apostles, " Preach the Gospel to every crea- 
ture ; he that believeth not shall be damned." 

How is it possible to deny that our Lord, both in the 
text and in the context of these and other passages, made 
faith in a message, on the warrant of the messenger, to 
be a condition of salvation, and enforced it by the great 
grant of power which He emphatically conferred on His 
representatives ? " Whosoever shall not receive you," 
He says, " nor hear your words, when ye depart, shake 
off the dust of your feet." " It is not ye that speak, but the 
Spirit of your Father." " He that heareth you, heareth 
Me ; he that despiseth you, despiseth Me ; and he that 
despiseth Me, despiseth Him that sent me." " I pray 
for them that shall believe on Me through their word." 
" Whose sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them ; and 
whose sins ye retain, they are retained." " Whatsoever ye 
shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven." " I will give 
unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven ; and what 
soever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, 
and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed 
in heaven." These characteristic and critical announce- 
ments have no place in this author's gospel ; and let it 
be understood, that we are not asking why he does not 
determine the exact doctrines contained in them — for 
that is a question which he has reserved (if we under- 
stand him) for a future Volume — but why he does not 
'-ecognize the principle they involve — for that is a matter 
which falls within his present subject. 


It is not well to exhibit some sides of Christianity, ts^^- 
not others ; this we think is the main fault of the author 

for Christianity. 397 

we have been reviewing. It does not pay to be eclectic 
in so serious a matter of fact. He does not overlook, 
he boldly confesses, that a visible organized Church was 
a main part of our Lord's plan for the regeneration of 
mankind. " As with Socrates," he says, " argument is 
everything, and personal authority nothing ; so with 
Christ, personal authority is all in all, and argument 
altogether unemployed " (p. 94). Our Lord rested His 
teaching, not on the concurrence and testimony of His 
hearers, but on His own authority. He imposed upon 
them the declarations of a Divine Voice. Why does this 
author stop short in the dehneation of principles which 
he has so admirably begun .-' Why does he denounce 
"short cuts," as a mental disfranchisement, when no 
cut can be shorter that to " believe and be saved " } 
Why does he denounce religious fear as hypocritical, 
when it is written, " He that believeth not shall be 
damned " } Why does He call it dishonest in a 
man to sacrifice his own judgment to the word of 
God, when, unless he did so, he would be avowing that 
the Creator knew less than the creature .-' Let him re- 
collect that no two thinkers, philosophers, writers, ever 
did, ever will agree, in all things with each other. No 
system of opinions, ever given to the world, approved it- 
self in all its parts to the reason of any one individual 
by whom it was mastered. No revelation then is con- 
ceivable, which does not involve, almost in its very idea 
as being something new, a collision with the human intel- 
lect, and demands accordingly, if it is to be accepted, a 
sacrifice of private judgment on the part of those to whom 
it is addressed. If a revelation be necessary, then also in 
consequence is that sacrifice necessary. One man will 
have to make a sacrifice in one respect, another in an- 
other, all men in some. 

398 An internal Argument for Christianity. 

We say, then, to men of the day, Take Christianity, 
or leave it ; do not practise upon it ; to do so is as un- 
philosophical as it is dangerous. Do not attempt to halve 
a spiritual unit. You are apt to call it a dishonesty in us 
to refuse to follow out our reasonings, when faith stands 
in the way ; is there no intellectual dishonesty in your 
self-trust ? First, your very accusation of us is dishonest ; 
for you keep in the background the circumstance, of 
which, you are well aware, that such a refusal on our 
part to back Reason against Faith, is the necessary con- 
sequence of our accepting an authoritative Revelation ; 
and next you profess to accept that Revelation your- 
selves, whilst you dishonestly pick and choose, and take 
as much or as little of it as you please. You either ac- 
cept Christianity, or you do not : if you do, do not garble 
and patch it ; if you do not, suffer others to submit to 
it ungarbled. 

June^ 1S661 



Abdiel. the faithful seraph, 5. 

Abraham, his intercession for Sodom, 87; his denial of his wife, 156. 

Adam and Eve, creation of, 154. 

Agabus, 178. 

Ahaz, refuses to ask a sign, 1 75 ; builds an altar after a heathen pattern. 1 76 

Alaric, 88. 

Alexander, 53. 

Alexandria, temple at, 15. 

Alfred, King, 2S8. 

Alphery, 289. 

Ambrose, St., 24. 

Andrews. 17. 

Antichrist, Patristical Idea of, 44. 

Antiochus, 53, 71. 

Apocrypha, the, 203. 225. 

Apollo Library, site of, 14. 

Apostolical Succession, 113. 

Arcesilas, 275. 

Arianism, 41. 

Aristotle, 275, 293, 376. 

Asmoneans, the, 15. 

Aspasia, 267. 

Athanasian Creed, 145, 391. 

Athanasius, St., 24. 

Athenians, characteristics of the, 235. 

Athens, 326. 

Attila, 89, 

Augustine, St., his letter to a Donatist bishop, 7, vid. also 1 3 ; quoted, 88 ; 

on the Apocrypha, 203 ; his well-known dictum, 366. 
Augustus, 73. 
Azariah, 159. 

Babylon, fall of, 87. 

Bacon, Lord; on Idola, 277 ; on the Ancient Philosophies, 298. 

Bacon, Roger, 289. 

Balaam, history of, 157, 179, 219, 221. 

Baptism, 115. 

400 Index, 

Basil, St., 24. 

Belshazzar, 69. 

liekoni, 289. 

Uentham, Jeremy, on Useful Knowledge, 262; no poetry in him, 263; hi'^ 

philosophy, 270. 
Benthamism, 272. 
Berkeley, Bishop, 275. 
Berkshire, a retired parish in, 3-4« 
Beiceans, commendation of the, 244. 
Bethesda, pool of, 221. 
Bible, two attributes of the, 173. 
Blandina, martyrdom of, 100. 
Bolingbroke's Patriot King, 352. 
BroughaTii, Lord, 255 ; a work wrongly ascribed to him, 256 ; his inaugural 

speech at Glasgow, 258. 
liroughamism, 272. 
Butler, Bishop, his Analogy of Religion characterized, 193 ; puts up a cross 

in his chapel at Bristol, ib. ; 275, 391. 
Burton, Dr., Antiquities of Rome, quoted, 87. 

Caesar, works of, 11 ; civilizes France, 380. 

(^aius, lost work of, 204, 207. 

Calvin, his doctrine of Predestination, 143. 

t'alvinists, their pet texts, 185. 

Canticles, Book of, 1S5, 210. 

Catholicus, Letters of, to " The Times," 254 ; to the " Catholic Standard," 

Charlemagne, his gifts to the Church, 25. 
Charles the First, 22, 23. 
Christianity, Primitive, lo ; not cast in the rigid mould of Judaism. 12; 

not a violent revolution, 30. 
Chrysostom, St., 13, 50. 

Cicero's Offices, 194 ; on Philosophy, 264; his Treatise on Consolation, 265. 
Clive, Lord, career of, 337. 
Confirmation, 34. 
Constantine, 33. 
Cowper, 265. 
Creed, necessity of a, 135. 

Cyprian, against schismatics, li ; on Episcopal Ordination, 13, 204. 
Cyril, St., on the One Holy Catholic Church, 8 ; quoted, 58, 102. 

Daniel, captivity of, 33 ; his prophecy of Antichrist, 52 ; his explanation ot 
the ten horns, 79 ; on the great persecution, 94 ; taught by the Chal- 
deans, 212. 

Darius, 53. 

David, 175 ; history of differently viewed, 185. 

Davy, 289. 

Deioces, 313. 

Democritus, 298. 

Demosthenes, the elder. 329. 

i)ifficulties in Scripture proof of doctrine, 109. 

Index. 40 1 

Dionysius, St., of Alexandria, 208. 

Dissenters, their unconscious imitations of the provisions of the old Catholic 

system, 37. 
Donatists, the, 13. 
Duval, 289. 

Easter hymn, the, 38. 

Ecce Homo, 363. 

Ecclesiastes, Book of, 210. 

Ehud, his assassination of Ejjlon, 178. 

Elijah and Elisha, 166, 187. 

Elisha, character and conduct of, 227. 

England, the paradise of little men, and the purgatory of great oi.cs, 343. 

Eridanus, the, 376. 

Esther, Book of, 209. 

Eucharist, the, 118, 179. 

Eusebius, 58, 204, 206. 

Exeter Hall, depths of, 308. 

Genesis, Book of, 155. 

Genseric, 89. 

Gerizim, temple at, 15. 

Gibbon, on the Popes of the ninth and tenth centuries, 25 ; on the invasion 

of the Roman provinces by the barbarians, 83, 84 ; quoted, 89, *oi ; 

on the Divinity of Christ, 187. 
Gog and Magog, 104. 

Gregoiy, Pope, on the destruction of Rome, 86. 
Guiberto, 25. 
Guizot, M., quoted 321. 
Gustavus Adolphus, 362. 

Hagar, 22. 

Hall, Bishop of Norwich, quoted, 20. 

Haman, in. 

Hannibal, 329. 

Herod, a Jewish courtier of, 14 ; and St. John Baptist, 177 

Hildebrand, Pope, 25, 33, 35. 

Hippolylus, quoted, 67, 74, 207. 

Holy Scripture in its relation to the Catholic Creed, 109. 

Homer, created literature, 380. 

Horsley, Bishop, on the Times of Antichrist, 107. 

Jacob, his wrestle with the angel, 179. 

Jael and .Sisera, 17S. 

Jehoash, reign of, 165, 175. 

Jerome, St., on Daniel, quoted, 56 ; on St. Paul's Epistle to Philemon, 204 

Jewish Temple, the, 66. 

Ignatius, St., Epistles of, 159 ; on the Eucharist, 208. 

Irenseus, St., quoted, 67, 73, 207, 209. 

Judas, manner of his death, 168, -(5 

402 Index. 

Julian, Emperor, 55, 57, 67, 71, 289. 
Justification by Faith, 123. 

Keble, John, on the Apostolical Succession, 16. 

Ken, Bishop, 17, his will quoted, 105. 

Knox, Alexander, his Letters and Remains quoted, z^. 

La Place, 258, 267, 299. 
Lateinos and the number 666, — 73. 
Latitude, doctrine of, 129. 
Latitudinarianism, difficulties of, 126. 
Laud, Archbisliop, 17, 18. 
Lazarus, the raising of, 165. 
Leo, St., and Attila, 89. 

Leslie, his Case of the Regale and Pontificate, quoted, 27. 
Locke on the Human Understanding, 372. 
London, 336. 
Lorenzo de Medicis, 289. 
Lushington, Dr., 255, 259. 

Luther, on Justification by Faith, 124 ; Iiis doctrine of Consubstantiation, 

Macaulay, Lord, on the Constitution of England, 361. 

Mahomet, 55, 58. 

Mahometan power, approaching destruction of, 103. 

Malachi, St., of Armagh, on the destruction of Rome, SG. 

Malchus, 182. 

Manasseh, reign of, 163. 

Marcus Antoninus, 289. 

Marozia, 25. 

Matrimony, 34. 

Maurice, F. D., on Eternal Punishment, 351. 

Melito, on the Canonicity of the Book of Lsther, 209, 

Meneuius Agrippa, fable of, 354. 

Miltiades, 329. 

Milton's Paradise Lost, quoted, 290. 

Montorio, the, 33. 

Mosaic law, the, divinity and beauty of, 14. 

Moses, his attempts to avenge the Israelites, 32 ; his periods of fast in the 
Mount, 157 ; his striking the rock, 175, and smiting the Egyptian, ib.; 
his vision of God, 1 79 ; accused of borrowing his law from the Egyp- 
tians, 211. 

Naaman, 221, 228. 

Nazianzen, Gregory, on the Canonicity of the Book of Esther, 209. 

Newton's hymns, 38. 

Newton, Sir Isaac, 258, 380. 

Oaths, lawfulness of, 122. 
GLdipus, sons of, 334. 
Orange ribbon, the, 13. 

Index. 403 

Ordination Service, the, 34. ^ , -r. • 1. .. o 

Origen, on the Epistles of St. Paul, 204, 206 ; on Eternal Punishment, 23S. 

Original Sin, 123. 

Orthodox Protestantism, 197. 

Oxford, 23. 

Palatine, the. 4 

Paley's Evidences, 367, 371. 

Pantheism, the great deceit of the future, 233. 

Paris, modem, the city of infidelity, S3. 

Pascal, 258. 

Peel, Sir Robert, his Address on the Establishment of the Tamworth 

Reading Room, 254. 
Pepin, donations of, to the Church, 25, 33. 
Pericles, his rebuke to Sophocles 194 ; on the Athenians, 328. 
Philemon, St. Paul's Epistle to, 204. 
Philoctetes, 308. 
Plato, 299. 
Polygamy, 122. 

" Protestant," exception to the word, 31. 
Prytaneum, the, 337. 
Punishment of Death, 122. 
Python, 218. 

Rasselas and Imlac, 266. 

Roman Empire, the, 49 ; fall of, 80. 

Rome, city of, described, 2, 3 ; the city of Catholicism, 23, 

Rousseau, on Socrates and Jesus, 366, 372. 

Sabbath, the, 120. 

Sancho Panza, 319. 

Sancroft, Archbishop, 26. 

Sarpi, Father Paul, his Letters quoted, 26. 

Satan, 211. 

Scott, Sir Walter, his Two Drovers, 334. 

Scripture and the Creed, 109. 

Seth, birth of, 156. 

Shakespeare, quoted, 22. 

Simon of Cyrene, 167. 

Sisera, 33. 

Sisterhoods, Religious, 40. 

Socrates, 328, 366, 379, 380, 397. 

Sophocles, 194. 

Stewart, Uugald, 274. 

Tamworth Reading Room, 254. 

Taylor, Jeremy, his Prayers and Litanies, 39. 

Tertullian, mentions Prayers for the Dead, 204. 

Themistocles, 329. 

Theodoret, on Daniel, quoted, 56. 

Thessaloiiians, the, 44 ; epistles to, 207. 

404 Index, 

Timothy, 1 61. 

Trastevere, the, 33. 

Trent, Council of, 28. 

Trinity, not mentioned in Scripture, 1^3. 

Turks, the, 104. 

Urijah the priest and Ahaz, 176. 
Uzziah, 159. 

Walpole, Sir Robert, 352. 

Waterloo Bridge, 336. 

Watts, 38. 

Wellington, Duke of, 307. 

Wesley's hymns, 38. 

Whately, Archbishop, on the Establishment, 36 1. 

White, Henry Kirke, 289. 

Witney blankets, 347. 

Xenophon, 329. 
Xerxes, 53. 

Zechariah, 212. 

Zeno, 368. 

Zuinglians, dilemma of, in regard to Baptism, 14^